UN Women and the Department for Community Development and Religion concluded a three-day workshop in Port Moresby on advocacy and coalition-building for women leaders from across the Southern Region.
The workshop was the first in a series of four workshops that will be held in each region across the country over the coming months.
The workshops aim to provide an opportunity for women leaders from across each region to come together to learn more about the principles and benefits of coalition-building to support collective action.
“There is a strong desire from many to see women back in the National Parliament in 2022,” said UN Women Acting Country Representative Caroline Nyamayemombe.
“We were privileged to give women the space to come together to develop their advocacy and unite to advance gender equality and women’s political participation in PNG.”
During the workshop, women leaders had an opportunity to hear from researchers, public servants and politicians who have played a role in trying to pass legislation to increase women’s representation in the National Parliament over the past few decades.
“We need to elevate women’s voices from the community level to the national level,” said the Australian High Commissioner, HE Jon Philp in his closing remarks. “Women are capable and the country needs their leadership.”
The efforts of government institutions such as the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC), Constitutional Law and Reform Commission (CLRC) and National Research Institute (NRI) have been essential in providing technical expertise and proposing models for Temporary Special Measures (TSMs), including reserved seats for women and quotas for women in political parties.
However, this work must be coupled with grassroots advocacy led by women leaders and women’s organisations, in partnership with male champions.
In his closing remarks, the New Zealand High Commissioner, HE Phillip Taula, shared experience from his country, “New Zealand was the first country in the world where women won the right to vote, and today we are fortunate to have many outstanding women leaders as role models, including our Prime Minister, Governor-General, Chief Justice, my Minister of Foreign Affairs – these are all women who have demonstrated great leadership.”
Despite this the High Commissioner acknowledged there is still work to be done, “While we’ve made great progress, we also acknowledge the major challenges that remain, both in New Zealand, and across our region and the world. That’s why we stand ready to support the Government of PNG.”
UN Women are proud to work with the Department of Community Development and Religion to support women leaders from across the country to advance women’s political participation.
This workshop was part of the Women Make the Change programme. Women Make the Change is a 4-year programme, led by UN Women in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and UNDP, focused on supporting women’s political participation. The programme is funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.