THROUGHOUT the world, educational authorities are telling us we should be training people for jobs that are yet to be invented but which will emerge as the pace of technology increases.
At the same time we are being warned that many present jobs and the skills that accompany them will rapidly become obsolete.
Even things we take for granted, such as agriculture and food production, will not be exempt.
Twenty years ago who would have thought that crops like kaukau and taro would be mechanically cultivated on an industrial scale?
Despite the efforts of politicians to turn Papua New Guinea into a desert of denuded forests pockmarked by the pits of gigantic mines and lapped by seas depleted of fish stocks, the country’s future, just like its past, will be reliant on agriculture.
This will be especially so if the population, already 7.5 million, continues to increase at unsustainable levels.
And where does most agricultural expertise reside in Papua New Guinea?
Among the women. The women are the ones who cultivate and harvest the kaukau and taro and they are the ones who look after the pigs and chickens.
They are the ones who make sure everyone gets fed while their errant husbands and sons get drunk on beer and high on drugs because they can’t get a job.
Women are the the backbone of Papua New Guinea.
So, in this rapidly changing world where food security will be paramount, they are the ones sitting in the driver’s seat.
In the not too distant future, they may also be the ones wielding the most power.
Perhaps it’s no wonder that Papua New Guinean men deride and beat them and try to own their lives. Perhaps the men are shit scared that one day women will be calling the shots.
And why not? The balance between the sexes has been way out of kilter for thousands of years. It’s time for a change.
And, even though it seems politicians can’t deliver change, technology and basic need will do it for them, whether they like it or not.
It’s ironic that, in developing countries like Papua New Guinea, the old paradigm is most likely to shift with great impact.
In the West, women have been slowly creeping up the equality ladder but they have never had such a powerful weapon at their disposal as the one that now appears to be presenting itself to Papua New Guinean women.
All that needs to happen is for those Papua New Guinean women to recognise the moment and grasp it firmly.
Don’t, whatever you do, surrender the opportunity.
And when you do succeed, and despite the past, treat those poor blokes and their fractured egos gently, even if they don’t deserve it.