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06 November 2018


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Making women's agenda the focus of policy , starting with political representation, could turn this nation around.

Dr Kerryn Baker of ANU made some comments (via Twitter) regarding Fiji's election results:

- A total of 10 women elected

- The 10 women make up 20% of total parliamentarians

- Fiji (20%) sits between Nuie (25%) and Cook Islands (16.5%) for women's representation

- PNG and Vanuatu remain the two Pacific nations without women sitting their current parliament

As to Arthur's anecdote, it is a familiar expression that I've heard from PNG women of all ages, throughout my life. And it wasn't until KJ arranged for me to attend the Women In Media 2017 Conference (Gold Coast) that I truly realised the potential of actively extracting oneself from that mindset.

The messages I heard from the different Australian WIM identities were in short: if you believe you deserve it, then ask for it. If you don't', it's more than likely someone less deserving will be rewarded instead.

Adopting this attitude has led to the activities I have been involved over the past year.

I was recently interviewed by Dr Ceridwen Spark (RMIT) about my thoughts on women's leadership in PNG. Two key observations I made about future directions to facilitate women's representation (politics and elsewhere) :

1. Male champions are vital : Having men consistently support, promote and advocate for PNG women, in private and public settings, is crucial.

2. PNG girls and women must be given access to view the full spectrum of what PNG women In leadership looks/ and could look like. This means not excluding, but embracing the minority and critical voices as well. Failure to do so perpetuates the trope of "who is a real PNG woman".

It limits the possibilities of realising the many forms that PNG women are/ could be as leaders; what they look like, how they behave, their opinions and views etc.

Empathy, acceptance and tolerance from other girls and women is very important too. Networks and dialogue should be inclusive of all.

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