IT IS an appalling truth that Papua New Guinea has the unenviable record of being one of the worst countries worldwide for violence against women and girls.
Recent reports and data indicate that this problem is getting worse and it is scandalous that the public policy strategies adopted so far have been ineffectual in improving the situation.
Recognising this deficiency, Rashmii Amoah Bell - an inveterate essayist on women's rights and social equality - was determined to do something about it.
Rashmii, a writer and sociologist, understands that a well-publicised project to bolster the status of Papua New Guinean women may enhance the cause of equality.
So the idea of publishing a collection of writing and art by PNG women with a theme of equality was conceived.
It's a project in which all of us - whether we're the United Nations or humble individuals - can be actors.
The anthology of essay, story, commentary, poetry and illustration will be launched on International Women’s Day next March.
We hope it will attract attention, draw comment and make a difference.
If it is able to be printed, and this has to be achieved, it will be the first book of its kind: never before has a volume of original writing by the women of PNG seen the light of day.
Even with willing writers, competent editors, a capable production system and volunteers scattered across PNG to distribute the product, there is always a major obstacle standing between a project like this and readers.
Money. Funds for printing books. Printing the material and tangible work. It requires money.
So that’s the next step. We’ll be relying on sponsors, readers and institutional donors to either provide funding or themselves offer to take on the task (or part of it) of printing and distribution.
I reckon that 5,000 books and the associated publicity that will flow from this achievement would be a good contribution. This will require about $40,000.
Wish us well and, when we send out the appeal, which isn't far away, please do what you can to help.
Because a book without readers - no matter how worthy - isn’t up to much at all, is it?
Our well liked PNG Attitude articles on PNG Women’s Walk to Equality…..
A collaboration to honour the women of Papua New Guinea, by Rashmii Amoah Bell
Where is the sanity? PNG men must respect our women & girls, by Daniel Kumbon
PNG’s women: strength & beauty defy the course of violence, by Keith Jackson
Women writers of PNG: this anthology is just for you, by Rashmii Amoah Bell