Women empowerment a challenge in PNG

Women empowerment, especially in leadership roles, on a global level, has gained significant momentum over the last 20 years.

This was highlighted last night by Mary Peschka, the global director for Advisory Services of International Finance Corporation, at an event organized in partnership with the Business Coalition for Women.

The event reflected on PNG’s journey in empowering women, honoring the path-breakers, celebrating the achievers and to inspire the next generation of women in the private sector in PNG.

While highlighting progress in this area, Mary Peschka said sadly, there was very little progress, last year, especially regarding gender parity on boards or in executive decisions.

For PNG, she says, it’s no small task, given the challenges being faced.

“PNG consistently ranks toward the bottom in nearly all measures of gender equality and gender opportunities.” Peschka said

IFC, being part of the World Bank, is involved in women empowerment throughout the world.

“Closer to home, here in PNG, we’re supporting the BCFW, to promote the advancement of women through mentoring and talent development initiatives, as well as through the development of gender smart workplace policies and this is to engage women in non-traditional roles,” she added.

A panel discussion led by distinguished women in business (pioneers, current and upcoming business leaders), was staged at the Pawa Meri’s of Business event, last night.

The panel, moderated by Mary Peschka, included Lesieli Taviri, Susil Nelson-Kongoi, Lady Aivu Tauvasa, Violet Aopi and Karen Mitchell, discussed the challenges that women face in terms of leadership.

“There’s a lot more work that needs to be done, but the important thing is that the change process has started, I think that’s what we need to focus on.

“It’s not a journey that’s going to have overnight results, it’s a long journey and it’s not only an issue that’s specific to PNG but globally as well, all countries around the world have gender issues.

“But I think it helps to get together and talk about it.

“Discussions like that help tease out the issues and also helps to advocate and get the gender issues out there and get people to start talking about it, that’s a good start,” Lesieli, Chairman of BCFW said.

Gloria Bauai