The Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission, with support from UNDP, are running a national workshop to reflect on the participation of women candidates in the recent 2022 National General Election.
Thirty-one women candidates from all over the country have come together in Port Moresby to reflect on their experiences and produce a Statement recommending a range of actions that should be taken by the Government and other partners to ensure election outcomes in 2027 are fair, inclusive and follow the law.
At the opening ceremony, the IPPCC Chairperson, Reverend Roger Joseph, stated: “It saddens me that we still don’t have enough of their voices represented in our National Parliament.
I encourage all of our male MPs to commit themselves to working to promote women’s empowerment during their term in Parliament.
I encourage our political parties to include gender equality and women’s empowerment in their manifestoes and to make it a core part of the policies they try to promote.”
Mr Jerry Ubase, Secretary of the Department for Community Development and Religion, also spoke at the opening.
He stressed that the National Council of Women is supposed to be the voice for all PNG women, holding the Government to account but hasn’t been operational, and committed his Department to fixing that in the coming months.
He also expressed his commitment to establishing a need to review and strengthen the new parliamentary committee on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the National Parliament.
A total of 159 female candidates contested the 2022 National General Election with 64 women endorsed by 14 political parties.
Twenty female candidates polled in the top five candidates in counting in their respective electorates.
This includes the two women declared winners: The Hon. Rufina Peter, Central Province Governor, and the Hon. Kessy Sawang, as the Member for Rai Coast Open.
The two women elected to the National Parliament make up less than 2% of the 11th National Parliament’s seats. This is much less than the global average of 25.5% as estimated by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Mr Edward Vrkic UNDP’s Officer in Charge highlighted the importance of expanding women’s representation in the National Parliament stating, “The Parliament is amongst the most important of all national institutions. It shapes a country’s future. Increasing women’s participation is fundamental to delivering in the best interests of Papua New Guinea. International experience tells us, that when this happens, societies are more peaceful and more prosperous.”
Key outcomes and findings are intended to inform political parties on ways to better support women candidates in future elections.
This Forum is part of the Women Make the Change Project funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.
This initiative is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of Integrated Office of Political Parties.