PORT MORESBY - Colonial literature portrayed Papua New Guinea as an exotic and savage paradise. I am surprised that view is still maintained by Australians and some learned Papua Guineans.
One such view is that Papua New Guinean men do not respect and treat our women properly. This is a slap in the face for all the caring gentlemen in Papua New Guinea. We know how to open doors, buy chocolates and golden necklaces for our women. We love our women just like anyone else. We don’t live in the stone-age.
Let’s not confuse ourselves with ‘equality’ and ‘gender based violence’. Equality – equal access to resources and opportunities between men and women. GBV – violence against women. Using economic terms, equality is macro whilst GBV is micro in nature.
I am all for equality and a level playing field. I believe PNG is a country of equal opportunities. In the process of trying to give a based view, I’ve been called names online and misunderstood.
We have laws protecting women’s rights and all our national policies involved equal participation. The government and all companies are equal employers. Men and women are paid the same based on education, qualifications and position ranking.
Our tertiary institutions enrol more females than male students. Australian Awards offers more scholarships to females than males. Infact, women have more opportunities than men in tertiary education.
Women have the same constitutional rights as men to contest in elections. Unfortunately, none of them won in the 2017 elections.
Yes, we have a problem with GBV which is often caused by alcohol, insecurity, jealousy, etc. This is micro in nature because it occurs within a relationship and family.
Both are global issues and not confined to PNG alone. Quantifying the issues is crucial in our understanding of where we stand and whether PNG is really a savage country.
The ‘Global Gender Gap Report’ from the World Economic Forum ranks 150 countries on gender equality. The Forum ranks countries against four main dimensions: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political representation.
According to its most recent report of November 2017, the 15 worst countries for gender equality are; Qatar, Turkey, Mauritania, The Ivory Coast, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Iran, Chad, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen.
PNG may not be the best country to live in, but it is also not the worst. Let’s stop inflating issues without facts and figures and give a balanced view.