ANNOUNCING his displeasure at the stupid behaviour of certain male diplomats, Minister Sam Abal said this week that he would consider posting more women as diplomats in future.
He did not elaborate but he did not need to.
Women, unlike their male counterparts, are less likely to get horrendously drunk and behave like morons in public.
Women, generally, are more consistent, persistent and reliable.
Women, generally, question authority less and are more loyal.
The few women who have become senior diplomats, like Ms Lucy Bogari, have been exemplary in their roles. You wonder why so few are chosen then.
Hopefully, Minister Abal can change this around as he has indicated. PNG would only gain if this were the case.
In other fields too, women are being noticed but we dare say, not fast enough.
Where the few women who have reached senior management levels such as Ms Winnie Kiap, Mrs Aivu Tauvasa and Ms Margaret Elias, among others, have performed as well as or better than their male counterparts.
Yet all the more reason to get more women into management roles, but the progress has been excruciatingly slow.
Women are still grossly underrepresented in all spheres of socio-economic life excepting the few servile roles they have performed for eons as work-horse, nurturer and sex object.
Change will come and it is happening but it is far too slow. To our mind, the process will be quicker if there were more women occupying political and decision-making roles in the National Parliament and provincial assemblies and other political decision-making institutions.
Gender equality is enshrined in Papua New Guinea’s national Constitution.
PNG has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
PNG has only ever had one woman parliamentarian elected to Parliament at a time.
So far, four women have been elected. Dame Carol Kidu, as Minister for Community Development, has worked extremely hard and well.
Whether it is at the electoral level in adult literacy programmes and leading the Way Forward charge for Sports as Minister in Cabinet, Dame Carol is a no-nonsense and conscientious worker.
And she puts her heart and soul into the job. One day while she was observing loud mouths at a women’s conference at the University of PNG to do a post-mortem examination on the 2007 elections, several uncouth women undertook to calling her names.
From where she was observing, she silently burst into tears but when it came her turn to address the assembly, she made no reference to how hurt she was.
She showed, like few of her male counterparts would, that others can have their say as well but she will not lower herself to mudslinging or defending herself if no good would come out of it.
To have only one woman as a Member of Parliament in a nation where half the population is women is not truly representative. In the final analysis, PNG has been violating its own Constitutional Pledge to have equal representation.
This is a grave injustice.
In the twilight of a chequered political career spanning two and four score years, it would be a fitting parting gift, if Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare can change this injustice.
A law needs to be introduced in Parliament that reserves certain seats for women candidates alone. One such proposal has gone up and it behooves Parliament to pass it. So that such a law itself does not become discriminatory against males in future, it must be time-bound to expire after four terms of Parliament. That is 20 years and by then, the electorate would already have been sensitised to the work and efforts of women parliamentarians.
While the law is being contemplated, the Constitutional provision for appointed members must be exploited in this first sitting of 2010 to have women’s representation.
When women are full and equal participants in decision-making, there is greater likelihood that Government policies will reflect the needs of all citizens.
Women’s priorities are usually different and less self-centered. They would press for policies and laws that benefit the community, women, and children.
Men being the head use only their heads while women being carers and nurturers use both their heads and their hearts.
PNG lacks a heart in all its decisions.