Women in Jiwaka await bill

National, Normal

The National,Friday20January 2012

WOMEN groups in the country are keeping their fingers crossed that the bill on their 22 reserved seats will be passed in parliament.
In Jiwaka, more than 100 women, youths and children gathered in Kimil, North Waghi, to show their support for the bill.
Women from Nondugl, Jimi, Wurup and Kaip met with those in Kimil to discuss the positive aspects of the reserved seats on them.
They urged their local MPs to vote for the bill and ensure that it is passed without delay so that women could have a voice in parliament.
They also urged other MPs to do the same because women are major contributors to development and the parliamentarians must keep their promise to women.
The women hope that Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare will set aside their political differences and get the bill passed.
Kimil community representative and spokeswoman Shirley John Kal said women had been denied fair and equal participation in parliament.
She said it was only proper that the 108 MPs join hands with lone female MP Carol Kidu to pass the bill.
She also condemned the negative comments in the media on the bill saying they were the words of “selfish and narrow-minded” people.
Kal pointed out that women in other countries had successfully challenged men in elections and even became prime ministers and national leaders.
“Papua New Guinean women are just as capable – but they face barriers,” she said.
Kal urged women to work together and ensure the bill was passed.
She said this session of parliament was important because it would be the last chance for the bill to be effected and for women to be elected separately into parliament.
Both the previous Somare government and the current regime of O’Neill had openly supported the gender bill.
Sponsor of the bill and Moresby South MP Dame Carol Kidu had also announced her retirement from politics, a move that would bring fresh doubts on the future of the bill if it did not make it through the house this session.