The National, Monday 30th July 2012
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
THE United Nations has welcomed the election of two women MPs so far, saying it is a step towards ensuring more equitable gender representation in parliament.
The UN country coordinator in PNG, David McLachlan-Karr, said the election of Delilah Gore and Loujaya Toni was a step forward in the national decision-making process to achieve genuine social progress and sustainable development.
He said the UN was delighted to see such an achievement in the Pacific as the region lacked balanced gender representation in parliament.
“Around the globe it has been proven that genuine social progress and sustainable development is impossible unless the 50% of the population, who are female, are given the opportunity in the national decision – making processes,’’ he said.
“PNG is the largest and the most influential country in the Pacific region.
“By giving women more opportunities, it is setting the pace for more equitable and inclusive development model which will inspire the women and girls from around the region.”
The UN’s work in promoting gender equity in the country can be attributed to the training programmes held for women in recent years to up-skill their knowledge and take part in national development.
The UN also supports the proposal to reserve 22 seats for women in parliament.
UN agencies in PNG earlier this year conducted workshops for women planning to contest the 2012 general election.
“When women feel empowered and men feel confident to vote for women based on their merit as leaders, then we will achieve a more equitable and representative society,” he said.
Lae open MP Toni was one of the participants at the UN’s “Practice parliament for women” training module held this year.
McLachlan-Karr said the UN would continue to work with the government on gender issues.
It will run more training for women candidates in the 2013 LLG elections.