Papua New Guinea is listed as one of the countries in the world with a low number of female representation in parliament. Women account for less than 2% of elected members in parliament.
Dr Nicole Haley, a Senior Fellow and Program Convenor at Australian National University conducted a research on female candidates in the Pacific Region and her findings showed that PNG and her sister countries in the Pacific share the same results.
Dr Haley found that for women in the Pacific its more difficult getting elected in the Pacific than anywhere else in the world. Her research findings show that there is a misconception that women have a fair chance of running for office. This is because there are constraints to females that males do not necessarily face such as cultural beliefs, attitudes in terms of women’s status in the community and financial constraints to name a few. Despite these issues there is a 15% success rate for women in parliament.
Dr Haley presented a summary of her findings at a training workshop hosted by the Registry of Political Parties. The training had the theme: “Empowering Women and Strengthening Political Parties.” Aim of the training was to inform parties about the kind of candidates they should be seeking out and endorsing.
Registrar for the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission Dr Alphonse Gelu at the workshop provided a summary of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC). The OLIPPAC provision will require parties to ensure that 10% of endorsed candidates are women.
“Parties that do not comply with the law will result in deregistration of their parties,” said Dr Gelu.
Participants at the training workshop were party executives and women candidates. The women spoke of the difficulties they face as intending candidates and most of them were related to finances. Nonetheless these women were encouraged to keep pushing forward.