Number of women in parliament stagnant

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 DURING the visit of Julia Bishop, the issue of women in leadership came to the fore of public agenda in PNG. 

The PNG media quoted Bishop as saying that the number of women in parliament “has increased”.  

The fact is that the number of women MPs has not increased because  the election of EHP Governor Julie Soso, Sohe MP Delilah Gore, and Lae open MP Loujaya Kouza to the current parliament has simply restored the number, not increased.

 The doldrums experienced in two terms of parliament from 1982 to 1987 and 1987 to 1992 were broken by the election of Dame Carol Kidu in the 1992 election  and  then  she  served as  the lone woman MP in three consecutive terms of parliament.  

With this record, PNG has achieved little by way of increasing the number of women in parliament. 

The current number indicates a horizontal rather than a vertical gain for PNG.  

With due respect to the current women MPs, there is still a lot more for  PNG  to achieve gender equality in parliamentary representation.

The passing of the late Scholla Kakas seems to have rekindled the agenda of 22 women’s seats in parliament. 

It is my fervent hope, and I am sure many other women that the commitment made by Michael Malabag in his  short condolence message at the late president’s haus krai to continue supporting the cause of pushing for special  women’s  seats  result  in rekindling the flames of Temporary Special Measures (TSM) to increase the  number  of women  MPs  in  our parliament.

Malabag’s support is welcome  and timely. 

Women leaders mourning the loss of  their leader at the haus krai heard Malabag’s message loud and clear. 

The  issue  of  22  women’s seats is a matter of political will. 

Is  it  not  time for the government and  the  parliament take full responsibility to ensure the Constitutional provision for women’s seats come into effect? 

When this happens then women can take comfort in the fact that the hard work put in by the late Scholla Kakas and many other passionate women leaders and groups throughout PNG, in civil society, private and public sectors was not in vain. 

Only then can PNG be certain of increasing the number of women MPs. 


Orovu Sepoe, Via email