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05 January 2013

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The question of gender equality boils down to this, does identifying as male or female affect your access to equal participation in your society?

There are other inequalities that can be expressed within society such as those based on race, religion or sexual preference but the most obvious is gender based as it involves at least, around half of the population.

As for myself I don't want to live in a society where half of the populations' views and rights are implicitly considered less worthy than the other halfs simply based on which gender they are ascribed.

It would be like disregarding applicants for a job based on whether their last name started with a vowel.

I'm not saying the best leaders are female just that it would be foolish to think that a 'good' leader would be unlikely to be female.

I'll give an analogy; The current programs on gender equality is structured in such a way that it gives the impression that the ovum itself with produce a child.

We are saying that it is impossible. The ovum will need a sperm cell to produce a child. Therefore all gender equality programs must involve men and boys too, simply because the problem is with the men. Including our MPs.

The UN Women and others should provide technical assistance and support to addressing men's participation in gender equality programs side by side with the opposite gender.

They should use innovative communication strategies to reach the bulk of the men through mass-media, community mobilization and interpersonal dialogue throughout the width and depth of this country to harness the support.

Gender equality is a problem all over the world and true men need to work closely with women to address it.

And also good govertment is required to make it happen.

When will the true men stand up for women? If you do that the international NGOs will support you.

If you sit back and complain when women are trying to help themselves then what?

Yalwai Kela, This is a well researched paper. I enjoyed it. This could form a basis for more indepth discussion on gender advocacy and the feminist movements. I only wish those pollies and all those women who grumble much about these issues without really understanding what they are fighting for could read this. On that note, I really wish your paper should be published in our dailies so that it can generate more discussion from the wider community. My view is always orthodox/conservative, and really because I have spend far longer periods in the Hausman listening to my fathers than I have been with the cultured type we easily identify with these days. I have in me implanted readily made answers (ideologies) on issues such as role of women, role of men and now WIP (22 seats) which I am sure will never go down well with most in society. Of the 6 or 7 million PNGians, 75% would share my view. If they say they dont, they are lying to themselves, even those in the "know" bracket. It will take longer and only time will tell. No matter how much effort, money, policy etc the government and NGOs put into this, the status quo will not change,....can not change. The only essence is time; time will weather it down into its different elemental parts. Thank you.

Perhaps we are not being confident of our independence.

Of course the United Nations has no right to tell us what to do, but it does have the responsibility to lobby very strongly for womens rights and gender equality.

I believe the outcome that has been achieved is a big step forward for an essentially macho nation of PNG - we are all arguing about the rights, roles and responsibilities of gender.

Hopefully our leaders will help us to move on and make firm decisions about how we feel about this agenda, as a nation, and the best steps forward for us.

All we've done so far is throw one idea out and say that the status quo is good enough.

Women leaders beware: in this day and age standing still is moving backwards. Don't get left behind.

Very confusing indeed. The UN and other feminist organizations should not force the nation of PNG to understand the gender issue overnight.

Just like any other nation on earth it will take time for those who are uneducated to understand the issue.

These various organizations should fund more adult literacy outreach programs into the rural areas to educate the population about the need to treat women equally because of the biological inequality and so on.

Kela, thank you for this very informative article. Your arguments seem to be sound, but I have the impression that someone better informed than I (and with more time on their hands) can make an appropriate rebuttal.

It is my belief that we are still not addressing the gender issue, only separating the issues of sexes and leadership history.

It is a given that leadership is not determined by our gonads. But let's be honest, in the PNG context most people would choose a male to be their leader even if the female was more capable.

But my fear is that women who may be very capable leaders will continue to be marginalized by a political system that is undeniably male dominated.

Regarding sex and gender; PNG statistics show almost 50/50 male female ratio, with the greater proportion being youth, i.e. leaders of tomorrow.

Consider that the female proportion of about 3 million is also made up of women who are also mothers. These women need voices in parliament who may be more inclined to defend their agenda because it is also forms a part of their personal experience.

The question remains; are we satisfied with the gender representation in our government system at all levels?

Other countries serve as examples, which have their own unique history associated with the political movement.

But the question of gender balance remains for PNG to answer.

And if the answer is 'no', then we still may need to find a suitable way forward.

The '22 seats' may not be what we are looking at, or agreeing to, or indeed able to realistically afford in government, but do we or do we not believe that greater gender representation is important?

Moreover, do we want to take an affirmative action to improve gender representation in all levels of government?

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