The outcome saw two of these women under a political party win against all odds, whilst the bulk of the other women left on the rebound, making it another five years of male dominance on the floor of the 11th Parliament.
The two women that won were Rufina Peter, Governor for Central Province and endorsed by the People’s National Congress Party and Kessy Sawang, Member for Rai Coast Open seat in Madang Province and the Vice Minister for International Trade and Investment, endorsed by People first Party.
Undeniably, Papua New Guinea has been biased of women in politics for decades, and this is duly attributed to the challenges prevalent in our societies with respect to customary laws, ethnicity and other various factors that hinder the launch of women into certain political arenas.
As a way to address these challenges and provide an avenue for informed and strategic planning, a forum event co-sponsored by Australia Awards Scholarships, Women Leading and Influencing (WLI) and the PNG Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA) was hosted at the Divine Word University.
Diwai: Post Election Women’s forum themed “Way forward for 2027: Learning from the experiences of women candidates”, was to engage and extend the conversation on the experiences of women candidates during the previous nationwide elections through a hybrid virtual event with face-to-face and livestreaming via Zoom and Facebook live.
It was also held to bring together the collective stories of women candidates’ experiences as it is important in recognizing the key leadership skills and political strategies that women candidates employed within their electorates.
These two women leaders accepted the invitation to be panel members. Hearing firsthand, the experience of Rufina Peter’s election campaign and strategy will shed light on the approaches that she took to succeed in being elected.
In the same way, Theonila Roka-Matbob, Member for Ioro Constituency from the Autonomous Bougainville Government was also invited to the panel to share her success story as well.
Elizabeth Ramatlap, a lawyer by profession, who was a woman candidate for the Sandaun Regional seat, was also invited to share her experiences of the election campaign she oversaw.
These insights into the conversation of the forum will be a way forward in addressing the discrimination and unfair processes of the elections.
According to Her Excellency Deputy Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Dr. Joanne Loundes who was also the keynote speaker during the event, quoted statistics from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, that globally women comprise over a quarter of national parliamentarians.
However, unfortunately the percentage of women parliamentarians in the Pacific Region is 8 percent and Papua New Guinea records is lower than 2 percent.
Her Excellency applauded the two women that that had won their respective seats and congratulated the other women at the panel for taking a stand in politics and the enormous effort they had put in to get to where they are today.