PNG WOMEN MUST NOT LIVE IN FEAR

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Sept. 18) - Congratulations to the organizers of the first non-political women’s conference dealing with the critical issue of women’s rights. The Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea clearly states that women are partners in national development. It states that they have an important role to play in the development of PNG.

We acknowledge that as a nation. We have made progress in many areas giving our women folk opportunities to be true partners in the development process. But we are also lagging behind in other areas.

In national politics, women candidates have been largely ignored by voters. Political parties have also not done their job by putting up women candidates and campaigning hard for them. It is a shame that we have a Parliament dominated completely by men.

It will be a long time before we have more women in Parliament voted in by the people, appointed as ministers or chairwomen of House committees. It will also be a long time before we have a woman Governor-General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice or Speaker of Parliament. New Zealand has some useful lessons for PNG.

In professional areas, PNG can pride itself in having women lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, doctors, scientists and more.

Efforts are being made to increase the intake of girls into secondary and tertiary educational institutions. But we need to accelerate the implementation of this policy. Having said all that, the fact remains that the women of PNG live like prisoners in what is supposed to be their own country.

Every day, they live in fear of their lives and the safety of their families. PNG women are still subjected to some of the most horrific crimes and many of the perpetrators of the crimes are still out there in the community, living like free citizens.

Their rights to life, protection under the laws of the country and as citizens of this country are relentlessly violated by men. This must not be allowed to go on forever. 

September 18, 2003

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

 

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