THE conversation around the reservation of seats for women in PNG and gender equality more broadly has been most dispiriting.
Men – and, equally disappointingly, women - have been vehement in their opposition to the proposed reservation of seats, instead calling for election on merit.
Meritorious election presumes an equal playing field. It is glaringly obvious that the playing field is not equal in Papua New Guinea, both in parliament and outside it.
Even more disappointing is this prevailing view espoused by Jordan Dean and others that women "don't need equality - they need self-recognition”.
Unpacking such statements is almost a waste of our time and effort: at best, it is a vacuous throwaway line and, at worst, a subliminal statement of misogyny.
For as long as men and women like Jordan Dean continue to victim-blame women who have suffered GBV without holding the male perpetrators to account and judge women for the choices they make, we must continue to push for a re-orientation of our systems of government to recognise the importance of the representation of those who make up the other half of our population.
I for one don't "scream for equality", Jordan, but I don't suffer fools who are stupid enough to think basic biology has given them any form of superiority.
In many ways, My Walk to Equality has done what we hoped it would - opened and generated a conversation on the absolute necessity for PNG to work towards gender equality and, on that score, Philip Fitzpatrick has correctly highlighted the importance of reserved seats for women.
The business case for reserved seats is simple. Quotas lead to action on gender equality by requiring institutions and entities to implement gender inclusion in clear practical terms.
Norway is an outstanding example of the pro-active steps taken to engender gender equality across politics and industry.
And, before I am reminded by someone that this concept is antithetical to Papua New Guinean "culture and tradition", we should all perhaps have recourse to our Constitution.
Therein a directive issue of the Constitutional Planning Committee called for "a fundamental re-orientation of our attitudes and the institutions of government...towards Papua New Guinean forms of participation, consultation and consensus, and a continuous renewal of the responsiveness of these institutions to the needs and attitudes of the people."
It is astounding that in 2017 we fail to grasp this basic direction to change given to us by people of half our collective education and exposure.
In the interim however, let's hope the continued development of indigenous Papua New Guinean women's literature does what literature is designed to do - challenge the status quo and illuminate the way forward.