TOMORROW is D-Day, when women throughout the country will be waiting for the deliberations and debate on a bill to be tabled in parliament on the reserved seats for women.
Prominent women leader Dame Meg Taylor said the current situation was such that women representation in parliament was meagre and unacceptable.
“The future of our nation was, and is, based on our hopes and aspirations as a people.
“At self-government, our leaders enshrined our aspirations in the eight-point plan.
“We clearly articulated the equal participation of women in political, economic and social life and institutions.
“The purpose of this is to ensure the sound and strong development of PNG with women as equal partners in development and nation building,” Taylor said in a statement yesterday.
“At independence, the National Goals and Directive Principles of our Constitution enshrined the desire for a nation recognising tradition but aspiring for a common future based on equality of men and women that will be a shared responsibility.
“We stood as a young nation on a journey of great expectation towards nationhood.
“We knew that there will be challenges and we believed that we will all share those challenges,” she said.
“Women in Papua New Guinea have worked hard and contributed to the development of our young nation, however, women’s participation at senior levels in government has seriously declined.
“Women’s participation in small-to-medium business enterprises is nominal while women have continued to be among the work force in towns and villages.”
Dame Meg said in parliament where laws were made where politicians defined the future of the country, there was an obvious absence of women.
“In the 35 years of our young nation, there have been four women in parliament. Two have held a ministry.
“This statistic is shocking and shameful.
“We will not build a nation when the opportunity for women candidates to be elected into parliament is undermined by reason of culture and prejudice, however, that has been the case and that must be changed.
“As a country in transition, we must note the past and reassess the current situation and redefine our hopes and aspirations for our future generations.
“The participation of women in national parliament, through reserved seats, will ensure a phase in our political history that will prepare the ground for more robust democratic institutions for the future.
“By reserving seats for women in the national parliament, the opportunity will be created to enable women to be elected through a democratic process.
“This will be the beginning for a more equal representation through the electoral process.”