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12 March 2012

Disagreements expressed over need for reserved seats bill

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea  – A women’s representative in Chimbu province says they are ready to contest the general election alongside men. Josephine Kiak, the women and church representative in the Simbu provincial assembly, was confident the women could contest the election alongside men. She has even asked Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to endorse some women to contest the general election under his People’s National Congress party banner.

O’Neill was in Kundiawa at the weekend to launch some government-funded projects, including roads. But Kiak’s comment was criticized by executive members of the provincial council of women, who maintained that they should have been allocated the 22 reserved seats. The bill to make this possible has yet to be passed by parliament. Women’s council treasurer Silia Gonapa, vice-president Bepi Dom, trainer Joan Sinebare, secretary Joan Tawi and highlands regional women-in-politics president Dre Cecelia disagreed with Kiak.

They said women in Chimbu wanted to see the women’s bill passed in parliament to allow women to participate actively in decision-making. They were disappointed with parliament’s rejection of the bill because of lack of numbers. The women were among a group of people who welcomed O’Neill at Dixons Oval.

"What Kiak has put before the prime minister is not the voice of the women in Chimbu. We are all for the bill to be passed. We expected Kiak to express our views but she failed to do so," Gonapa said.

[PIR editor’s note: Elsewhere in PNG, women have been called to become agents of change" in their societies to help change the minds of their communities in "culturally sensitive" areas. steps to break cultural barriers and move past cultural inhibitions have been urged so women can openly "instigate changes" and for women "not to fear exercising their rights" with legal processes to protect them.]

[The National, 12 March 2012 via PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT]

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i

The National

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