PNG Women Participate In Parliamentary Training

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UN-backed effort supports women candidates

By Shirlyn Belden

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 23, 2012) – Women in Papua New Guinea will have to fight harder to get into parliament, now that the reserved seats have not passed parliament’s stamp of approval.

But for those who do make it, parliament’s systems and processes will not be entirely foreign to them.

That is if some of them are among the group that will today attend a session in Port Moresby to experience and understand the parliamentary processes.

They will attend a mock practice parliament for women training at the National Parliament in Port Moresby from today.

The training is organized by the department of women and the United Nations.

It is part of a national strategy to support women candidates in their efforts to get elected.

It hopes to improve the chances of seeing more women members in parliament.

A United Nations (UN) spokesman said women candidates needed such assistance so that they could become members of the 109-member parliament.

About 70 women were selected by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women to take part in the training.

They had shown interest in contesting the election.

The week-long training will see the women take part in parliamentary procedures, substantive policy issues relevant to PNG and a mock parliament session where they will go through the question time and a debate on a mock bill on reproductive health rights.

The training is supported by academics and members of parliament.

A similar training was launched by UNDP and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat last year.

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