A Women’s National Business Agenda for women entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea will very soon be in place.
An orientation and coalition building workshop hosted on Thursday, February 27, by the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) started discussions around formalizing the Women’s National Business Agenda.
The need for a Women’s National Business Agenda was well supported by Prime Minister James Marape during the 2019 Women’s Forum.
The forum last year enabled informed discussions and feedback from PNG Women who had attended to have in place the Business Agenda for Women in the country.
The Workshop last week informed women of what the Women’s National Business Agenda really is and how it would help women entrepreneurs in PNG.
“There is a specific structure that we need to follow to make sure that we keep to these timelines and CIPE is going to be there every step of the way – in terms of support, the resources, technical advice… ” CIPE PNG Country Director Eli Webb explained.
The challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the country are great, compared to their male counterparts.
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) strengthens democracy around the world through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy and is an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
The CIPE program is aimed at democratizing opportunity for women, including the development of a Women’s Business Agenda.
“The Center for International Private Enterprise actually has an advocacy tool, so we’re actually here learning from our colleagues in Papua New Guinea about how advocacy has been done for Women in Business in the country and then introducing some of the tools that we have to see if there is a fit, to see if we might be able to help them organize in a collective action effort,” Centre for Women’s Economic Empowerment Director Barbara Langley said.
Local woman entrepreneur Mary Handen, who has been involved in the solar power business, shared some challenges faced in doing business in a male-dominated culture environment in PNG.
“We are women, we are running businesses but at the same time, we have that role of keeping that responsibility of a mother, of a wife in the house and we cannot be doing all of those things at the same time without support from the government,” Handen said.
36 women attended the workshop this week, of which a third were existing PNG female business owners, representatives from various chambers of commerce, women’s coalition and co-operative groups, donors and other female leaders in the community.
The workshop saw the attending participants self-select members to form an interim steering committee to kick off the process of driving change for a more enabling environment for PNG Businesswomen with an organized collective voice.
By Dennis Orere – EM TV News, Port Moresby