Raise women status: Envoy

National, Normal

The National, Friday November 1st, 2013

 WOMEN account for only 37.4% of the public service in the country or 34,466 of the 92,000 civil servants, a diplomat says.

Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes said women in Papua New Guinea occupied only 22% of management positions and 5% at the senior executive leadership level.

She was speaking to more than 50 working women and male advocates from organisations in the National Capital District who attended a breakfast organised by the Coalition of Change on Wednesday.

She said the election to parliament of Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso, Lae MP Loujaya Toni and Sohe MP Delilah Gore – only the fifth, sixth and seventh women elected since the first elections in 1977 – were heroic achievements.

“But it’s not nearly enough. And none in PNG should be satisfied with that result,” she said. 

She encouraged women to support gender equality to improve the standard and development of issues concerning them.  

They were challenged to support gender equality by working with men in realising changes. Stokes said the country had a low status on women’s participation in high offices. She encouraged women to be challenged by the status of women in other countries. 

She said individual efforts must support assistance by development partners like Australia to realise their goals. 

She said it would take the participation of men and women in workplaces to realise change. “For the gender agenda to keep its momentum and to bring about positive change, men must be engaged. We need both men and women to be agents of change,” she said. 

“This is a global challenge and not one faced by just PNG. This is clear when you look at some of the international data for women in leadership positions,” she said.