The National, Friday October 18th, 2013
By SHEILA MALKEN
MARIA Linibi does not mind getting her hands dirty.
And for her years of labour and determination to work the land she was rewarded on Wednesday with the Westpac Outstanding Women’s Award.
It was her third award and perhaps just as or more deserving as the previous two considering the calibre of contenders in the race
Among 14 finalists, Linibi, who is the PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation president, took the honours in the Trukai Community Award category and went on become the winner of the seventh annual award dedicated to encourage, recognise and reward local women with outstanding achievements.
Linibi won her first award in 2006, the World Rural Women’s Award in Geneva and in 2010 took the Unesco/DWU Communication and Development Award at the Divine Word University in Madang.
The premiere event is sponsored by Westpac and several other leading companies, including The National.
“At least women are recognised in the community, the government and private sectors for the work they do quietly and are acknowledged,” Linibi said.
“I am very proud to be nominated and would like to encourage other women to do something that can benefit them and their community.”
She hoped the prime minister and agriculture minister’s trip to Israel would benefit women in the agriculture locally.
“I have often been asked why these awards recognised the efforts of outstanding women, but not men. This is a fair question that deserves an honest answer. After all, the men of this country face challenges and many have achieved outstanding things too,” general manager of Westpac Pacifica Greg Pawson said.
“Women are too often denied a seat at the leadership and decision-making table in PNG.
“This is despite the fact women contribute informally to the economy in a number of ways; work on average nearly twice as many hours as men; and often combine significant domestic responsibilities with their daily jobs,”
Pawson emphasised that more could be done.
Gender equality in PNG will only be achieved when women can fully, freely and safely take part in all aspects of political, economic and social life, he said.
The winner of the private and corporate sector award for 2013 is Anthonia Apurel, winner of the public sector Dr Mobumo Kiromat, Sarah Shelley claimed the SP Brewery entrepreneur award, and Dorish Cheryl Mondo Mulas took home the young achiever category award.