EDITED by Rashmii Amoah Bell, My Walk to Equality, the first ever collection of women’s writing from Papua New Guinea, has entered the final stages of production.
The book, of more than 200 pages, is published by Pukpuk Publications and will be launched in Port Moresby and Brisbane in March.
The collection of 70 essays includes commentaries, stories and poems by 40 writers and has been elegantly organised to provide a comprehensive insight into the range of issues that affect women in PNG today.
The first section, a compilation of writing, concerns relationships – how they operate, become dysfunctional and can be revived.
Then follows contributions on self-awareness and self-empowerment, two significant psychological phenomena that determine the efficacy with which women can cope with and manage the discrimination and prejudice they all too often confront.
The third section consists of works on breaking the glass ceiling - challenging society’s views about women.
And the final segment looks at legacies, stories on what the women of today have been bequeathed by some great female role models who went before them.
In addition to this abundance of writing, there are forewords by Elvina Ogil and Tanya Zeriga-Alone and an introduction by Rashmii Bell backgrounding the book, highlighting its themes and referring to some of the contributions that stood out for her.
As I write this, it seems we have not succeeded in gaining financial support for book distribution from either the United Nations Development Program or the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea.
UNDP was never keen, despite its stewardship of the United Nations sustainable development goals which PNG is seeking to achieve and which this book articulates.
My Walk to Equality also falls squarely into two of the critical objectives of all external development assistance to PNG – the elimination of violence against women and the promotion of gender equality.
The Australian representatives in PNG expressed enthusiasm for the concept but have so far made no firm commitment. I’m still hoping
That said, the project continues, albeit on a smaller scale than we would want, and we again thank Jo Holman and the Paga Hill Development Company for their support.
They appreciate the important statement the publication of this book makes about Papua New Guinean women receiving recognition and support in the struggle against prejudice and their striving for equality in society.
My Walk to Equality offers both direct action and the opportunity to be a catalyst for even more positive developments.
Meanwhile, the publication in PNG Attitude of stories from the book has attracted much positive comment from readers of the blog and elsewhere in social media.
It seems what this book has to say is already having an impact especially in assisting to empower those women who are in a position to take a lead.