GOVERNOR-General Sir Paulias Matane yesterday urged everyone to proudly nominate an outstanding performer for the Pride of PNG Awards for Women 2010.
Pride of PNG Awards for Women is a community service initiative by City Pharmacy to recognise and reward ordinary PNG women.
This award is for women who are not well known, but who nonetheless contribute meaningfully to the development of PNG. That, without the shadow of a doubt, would mean every mother and girl in Papua New Guinea.
PNG is run on little else but the efforts of energetic women in every walk of life. Yet, recognition for their efforts as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters has been lacking.
In the home, the garden and in the office, women are the quiet, unrecognised achievers. For, without a woman to nurture the child, would the man be alive today?
Like Sir Paulias, The National commends the efforts of City Pharmacy.
We, likewise, have been running our own promotion for women through our Empowering Women campaign.
Each year, young women are chosen from among hundreds to be sponsored to tertiary education.
Several good women have benefited from the scheme and many more will follow.
But Sir Paulias’ comments yesterday rang another bell, particularly as they come from the Governor-General.
Sir Paulias’ term officially ends in the middle of this year.
While it is understood Sir Paulias might have indicated intending to serve a second term, we also would like to promote the idea that it is time a woman was made to occupy the post.
Ever since Independence, no woman has occupied the office of the governor-general.
It would be altogether fitting, really, since the Head of State is herself a woman – Queen Elizabeth II.
While it is merely a ceremonial post, it is nonetheless an important and prominent post and the elevation to that post of a woman would do much to improve PNG’s scorecard in terms of promoting women.
There are many women who would qualify immediately to take up that post.
Here is one more chance for Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to demonstrate his keenness to promote women to high political office by championing the cause to place the first woman governor-general in office before he departs political office himself.
The second national goal in the Preamble to the Constitution stipulates quite explicitly that there shall be equality and participation.
In particular, the Constitution calls for all citizens, female and male, to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of Papua New Guinea.
Women and men are together called to be engaged in the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of the country.
Both are called upon to make every effort to achieve an equitable distribution of incomes and other benefits of development.
The Constitution did make one specific reference to women citizens by calling for equal participation by women in all political, economic, social and religious activities.
This has remained, for the most part of PNG’s life as an independent nation, a noble declaration on paper.
In truth, men have dominated every sector of the country from being head of the family home to political office including the posts of Prime Minister and the Governor-General.
If it is not too much to ask, we should like to call upon Sir Paulias to push his own desire to see women succeed by retiring graciously from the chair he has occupied with distinction and, at the same time, pushing for a woman candidate to succeed him.
It would be a very noble thing to do and one which we are certain has not skipped the good Grand Chief’s attention and thoughts of late.
It is also incumbent upon all parliamentarians, who are going to vote the next GG, to also be thinking about which woman candidate they are going to support for the post.
It is time for a woman governor-general.
Would not the Queen herself be thrilled to be represented in Papua New Guinea by a vice regal who is a lady?