By JUNIOR UKAHA
LONE woman politician and government minister Dame Carol Kidu is optimistic that parliament will pass the proposed Equality and Participation Bill to enact 22 reserved seats for women by an elective process.
Dame Carol, who holds the community development portfolio, has been outspoken on women and children issues since entering politics. Among her main agendas had been women’s voice and representation in parliament.
“The prime minister has assured me that the matter will be entertained in parliament,” Dame Carol said yesterday.
In a media statement last Thursday, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare committed the government to tabling the proposed bill.
He said the bill was now on the notice paper of the parliamentary business and “the government will discuss it come Nov 16”.
“The government will elaborate on the proposed legislation during the coming parliament session to ensure women have a fair representation in the highest decision-making process,” Sir Michael said.
In reaffirming his ongoing commitment to PNG women, the prime minister also assured visiting US state secretary Hillary Clinton of “the government’s unwavering support to ensure women have a voice at the highest level”.
Dame Carol said women from as far as East New Britain and Manus had rang her and rallied their support for the government to allocate the proposed 22 seats for women in parliament.
The bill is expected to go before parliament this week.
However, it was understood that the supplementary and 2011 budgets would take precedence.