166 women candidates are putting their hands up for public office, that’s 31 more women than the 2012 elections that saw 135 women contesting, with 3 being elected.
Going further back, after Independence, there were two women in parliament, Josephine Abaijah who later became Dame Josephine and Nahau Rooney.
A decade later in the 90s, Dame Josephine was elected again as regional member for Milne Bay, with Dame Carol Kidu as Moresby South MP.
Of the 166 contesting this elections , 2 are Daughters of former Prime Ministers, Dulciana Somare-Brash vying for her father’s seat, which he held for 41 years; and Anna Skate, daughter of Late Bill Skate for the Moresby South seat.
There are also 2 wives of current sitting members contesting. Jean Parkop, wife of Powes Parkop contesting the Oro Regional Seat; and Theresa Kas, wife of Jim Kas, who holds the Manus Regional seat.
Now let’s take a look at the number of candidates in each region, the Highlands region registered a total of 1,319, among them are 48 women.
Eastern Highlands has the highest number of 16 women; Southern highlands has the lowest with only 2 candidates contesting the Regional seat.
For the New Guinea Islands region a total of 331 candidates are standing in the region, 17 are women.
Manus has the highest with 6, while the lowest was West New Britain with no women candidates at all.
While the Southern Region has a total of 811 candidates, 59 are women. NCD and Central province have the highest number of women candidates with 13, while the lowest was Milne bay province with 4.
And finally for Momase, with a total of 870 candidates, 42 are female. Madang has the highest number of women candidates with 14, while West Sepik has the lowest with 5.
While most of the women candidates are Independent, only a few are affiliated with Political parties.