More Women MPs Needed in Parliament

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of only five countries in the world that have no female members of Parliament (alongside Yemen, Qatar, Micronesia, Vanuatu) and is below the global average of 23 per cent female representation in Parliament.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, PNG, for the first time in 25 years (since the 1992 election), no females will make up the 111-member Parliament - despite more female candidates being nominated for elections in 2017 than ever before;167 of 3,332 were female candidates.

Dr Alphonse Gelu, Registrar of Political Parties said women need to have full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

He said to achieve this, important stakeholders need to do more to empower women, by making positive commitments through changes in laws, policies and actions.

A Special Parliamentary Committee was recently established by the Government on Gender-Based Violence has recognised the challenges to women getting into parliament.

The committee said temporary special measures are required for women in advance of the 2022 National General Elections.

The committee has also voiced support for creating reserved seats for women in parliament.

In 2012, the only three female MPs elected into the ninth Parliament were Julie Soso (Governor EHP), Delilah Gore (Sohe MP) and Loujaya Kouza (Lae MP). They only lasted a term in Parliament (2012-2017)

They were all voted out in 2017, leaving men to dominate the National Parliament.

Freddy Mou