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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

PNG Women MPs Stance On Reserved Seats Disappoints
Greater presence in government touted by women’s council head

By Moua Omoa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 4, 2012) – Women’s groups in Papua New Guinea are disappointed with the three women parliamentarians for not supporting reserved seats in parliament.

National Capital District Women’s Council president Maria Andrew said that women’s unions and provincial women’s groups around the country were disappointed with the comments made by the female parliamentarians because they believed the MPs should be pushing for women’s rights in parliament.

She said it took three years to make the 22 reserved seats bill a reality and women all over the country worked hard, most times using their own resources to go on road shows and do awareness to change the mindset of people, especially men.

"With Sohe MP Delilah Gore’s suggestion to do away with the proposed 22 reserved seats and propose just four regional seats, it will take another four to six years of hard work because this will include redefining and checking regional boundaries and making other amendments," Andrew said.

"The reserved seats bill gained support from prominent female leaders from abroad, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"We would like to see our female MPs to consult with and work with the National Women’s Council to enhance the rights of our women and at the same take the lead for more female representation in parliament."

Andrew said many women contested in the elections this year because and there was great awareness and it was through the women’s advocacy and movement for parliament representation that outlined women could represent their people and deliver quality leadership.

Andrew said the three women MPs were in parliament as a result of that movement and they should be thankful and give their support.

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