Academic urges PNG political parties to include women’s issues


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15 May 2012

WOMEN issues can be captured by political parties in their policies and messages, the second workshop on “strengthening the capacity of political parties in PNG” at the Lamana Hotel was told yesterday. The workshop was told that the challenges and barriers to women participation in socio-economic and political issues were more but could be addressed amicably through political intervention and education.

Anne Dickson Waiko, a senior lecturer at the University of PNG, said socio-economic challenges faced by women such as poverty, feminisation and unemployment, dual work obligations, illiteracy and limited access to education, lack of confidence and feeling of not being competent, political issues such as male dominance in politics, lack of party support, lack of women involvement in political parties and lack of quota system could be addressed through political intervention.

She said the bar­riers could also be addressed through political parties, education systems, NGOs, churches, and trade unions to promote women participation, creating women caucuses, recruitment of women by political parties, make constitutional amendment for quota system for political participation, training to enhance capacity.

She said the first challenge was for the government to take responsibility for gender issues and gender mainstreaming to be adopted as a development approach and that both men and women to overcome the perception that women were incompetent. Waiko added that next was to acquire knowledge and understanding about the complexity of the gender issues and accept gender as a crosscutting development issue, not about women but seen as a development issue as the gender inequality in all manifestation contributed to PNG’s poor social, economic and political indicators.

She also stated that awareness has to be carried out in schools to create awareness that women were citizens and therefore their rights had to be respected. They had to prove credibility by performing in what are often seen as traditional roles of men such as politics, manager and CEO positions. The workshop orga­nised by the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) and the National Democratic Institute with support from the United States Agency for International Development was attended by political representatives, women leaders and the media.

 

[The National - Jeffrey Elapa]

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