SINCE Papua New Guinea’s Independence in 1975, it has been obvious that there are many obstacles in the path of women who aspire to serve in public office.
Studies in PNG have shown that running for office is a costly exercise and women struggle to accumulate a generous war chest.
Affirmative action or positive discrimination is a way to address systemic obstacles to equality and to minimise the disadvantages created by gender inequality.
Our National Executive Council has recognised this and directed that drafted amendment bills are gazetted ahead of introduction in Parliament next month.
The effect of the amendment bills, if passed, is that they will create two-member provincial electorates where one seat is exclusively reserved for the female candidate.
As there are 20 provincial electorates, this reform, if passed by the Parliament, will immediately create 20 reserved seats for women to contest in 2012 elections.
The next generation, who are our sons and daughters, will eventually inherit the governance of this country.
What will they say about our time as leaders of this country?
What will they say about the decisions we made and way we shaped the country?
We hope the next generation will be able to thank us for our courage, our foresight, our commitment and our willingness to imagine a Papua New Guinea which values and realises the rich potential of its sons and daughters equally.
Dame Carol Kidu
Minister for Community Development