Tanuvasa wants equality

Youth & Careers

MAPUSAGA Tanuvasa has seen the realities of inequity and exclusion up close and personal.
His mother has a degree and after many years of hard work, she did not get promoted to be a manager until recently.
So it is not entirely surprising that Mapusaga decided to pursue a law degree at the University of PNG.
This year, his fourth and final of study, he was given an opportunity to pursue gender equity, oppose discrimination and influence campus life.
He was one of 35 UPNG students and staff invited to form a committee to develop the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy and mechanisms for it to be enforced.
The committee researched international best practices and drafted a policy specific to the UPNG context.
Committee members were tasked to work on specific sections of the policy, including disability, workplace harassment, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, and safety and security.
The University of Papua New Guinea policy, developed with support by the PNG-Australia Partnership, has the full backing of the university’s executive and is expected to be finalised in early 2020.
In June, Vice-Chancellor Professor Frank Griffin said women and men needed to work side-by-side.
“Working together allows the country to move in a direction where gender equity and gender equality will become more prominent in the years to come,” Griffin said. “To be a free thinker, at the university level, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female.”
Mapusaga’s participation on the committee was an opportunity to promote equality and inclusion as a responsibility to be shouldered by all people.
He knows that now the policy is on paper, the hard work is in its implementation, which will address the issues of today and improve life for future students.
“The GESI policy must be implemented,” he said.
“I don’t think about what I would do tomorrow or next year.
“I think about what would happen for the future generations when they come into the university. What we need to change first and foremost is the mindset.”
He identified the lecturers as key influencers of student attitudes – viewing them as crucial advocates and allies for gender equity and social inclusion.
“Thousands of students pass through the university every year – thousands leave educated,” Mapusaga said.
“You can change the mind of thousands of people or more in your lifetime being a lecturer.”
Mapusaga can be proud of the role he has played in the promotion of gender equity and social inclusion.
“I’ve been writing about discrimination since my first year at UPNG.
“I don’t care if it takes me a year or many years, it’s something I want to keep pushing forward.”