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An evolutionary trajectory for the women of PNG

PNG political parties must promote more women in politics

Dame Carol-kiduRadio New Zealand International | Edited

IT IS up to political parties to boost the number of women in parliament, says Dame Carol Kidu, a former Papua New Guinean opposition leader and minister.

Dame Carol said PNG could not be called a representative democracy while half of its population only had a 2.7% stake in parliament.

In 2011, PNG passed a bill sponsored by Dame Carol to establish 22 reserved seats for women but enabling legislation was not passed in time for the 2012 election.

Dame Carol entered politics in 1997 and was the only female member of parliament from 2002 until her retirement in 2012, when three women MPs were elected.

She said the chance to reserve seats for women was gone.

"It is going to come back to political parties now,” she said. “It is not going to happen by legal reform anymore.”

Dame Carol said this was because an increase in the number of seats would also increase the district service funds that are distributed through MPs.

The increase in funds required for 10 extra members would be large and “never get through" parliament, she said.


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Rashmii Bell

Interesting and concerning comments by Dame Carol Kidu.

I'm not sure that putting onus back on political parties will fall on willing ears. If the male parliamentarians couldn't;t vote for reserved seats for women on the floor, then what are the chances they'll do so behind closed doors in their private party meetings?

An education and paradigm shift in gender stereotypes, norms and roles needs to be a priority here. For males and females of PNG.

Also, what happened to the Temporary Special Measures?

Peter Sandery

To me, the idea of having reserved seats in what is supposed to be a democracy is actually a contradiction in terms and Dame Carol's idealistic attempt to do so fell into this category, it appears that she may have realised that now. There should be but one stipulation for eligibility to stand for election as an MP and that is being a registered voter with no criminal convictions, and all that that entails. Once you start talking about reserved seats or quotas, you are part of a thin edge of the wedge which could end up anywhere, despite the best intentions of people in the here and now.

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