DWU supports women’s empowerment

Narelle Diau, Lilly Wani, Emma Francis and Marychris Gil are proud to be working in various roles in male dominated fields of construction and mechanics at Divine Word University (DWU) in Madang.

Francis has been an administration assistant, supporting her predominantly male colleagues at DWU for almost five years. She faces significant challenges as a woman working in construction administration but is grateful for the support of her colleagues.

“I’m grateful for the support of the admin staff, they always stand up for me and help me. We started really small and now we have come so far over the years.”

Wani works as a carpenter creating furniture for the new DWU student and staff housing, delivered through the latest Incentive Fund Grant of K7 million. Her handiwork on furniture for the university’s projects is something her family is proud of. 

Diau has been a services adviser working in the DWU workshop for more than a year and manages customer service, client loads and university staff. She hopes that in time, more women will gain skills and employment in male-dominated fields and continue to break down cultural employment barriers.

“While it is very challenging, I’m encouraging more women to work in male-dominated environments and I’m positive that women can be happy and have a big impact in these kinds of jobs.”

The Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership, through the Incentive Fund, is committed to providing support to Papua New Guinean organisations like Divine Word University who value women’s empowerment economically and socially, and work to contribute to achieving gender equality for PNG.

Aligned with the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership’s priorities, DWU is dedicated to achieving a balanced gender distribution and providing education and employment opportunities to women and girls. Currently, 55 percent of all students enrolled are female, and 70 percent of its administrative staff are women.

Since 2002, the PNG-Australia Partnership has provided three Incentive Fund Grants to DWU. These funds have been used to construct student dormitories, staff accommodation, a library, female resting houses and a lecture theatre.

(Narelle Diau, Lilly Wani, Marychris Gil and Emma Francis at the DWU furniture workshop)

Press release