We need more input from women

Letters, Normal

THE Vision 2050, as a long-term road map that will move PNG forward, is a dream that has come true for a developing nation like Papua New Guinea.
Complementing it is the medium development goals (MDGs) to ensure that it achieves the goals.
One of the goals is more women’s participation in development and politics.
The push for reserved seats for women in parliament is the way forward.
It complements the global demand for gender equality.
PNG’s only woman MP, Dame Carol Kidu, said a United Nations chapter provided for gender equality and having women in parliament through reserved seats was the way to go in PNG.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop and others think having more women representation will provide balance and stability.
Without women, there is no possibility of men surviving and this comes from the basic principle that guides all living and non-living things – everything must interact with their surroundings for their survival.
Thus, women do not only exist to fulfil their defined cultural obligations and duties in society, but more than what it required of them.
They deserve to have the same dignity as men.
Currently, we have 108 men and one woman in Parliament, a clear imbalance.
This has seen PNG trailing behind many countries, including our Pacific islands neighbours.
The 22 seats are reserved exclusively for women.
It is intended to address the prevailing lack of participation and representation of women in parliament.
This initiative will hopefully bring some benefits to Papua New Guineans.
Some women have risen to the very top and can now stand tall among their male counterparts.
They have demonstrated they are just as capable.
In one of her interviews, Dame Carol lamented: “PNG is ranked 132 out of 138 countries, with only one woman representative in parliament for the past decade. Therefore, the 22 reserve seats for women will solve the problem of gender imbalance.”
According to the constitution, section 55 of the Organic Law talks about “equality of citizens”.
This means everyone has the same rights, privileges, obligations and duties irrespective of race, tribe and place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed, religion or sex.
Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, during her visit to PNG early this year, said having women leaders in the parliament would be a step forward in advancing gender equality.
The Kiwi PM said if the legislation on the 22 seats for women in parliament is passed, it could be a turning point for the country in gender development and other issues associated with it.
The state can do more than what it is doing now.
A majority of men and women are supporting the proposed bill.
This shows men are supporting the women’s cause.
We have seen many women leaders in the political scene.
They include former prime minister for Britain Margaret Thatcher, New Zealand’s Helen Clark, India’s Indira Gandhi, Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, Hillary Clinton of the US and current Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.
If these women politicians have served with distinction, why can’t Papua New Guinea do the same?


Casper Damien
Port Moresby