THE UNITED STATES and the World Bank are teaming up on an initiative to improve the lives of women in PNG.
The Women's Empowerment Initiative is supported by Australia and New Zealand and aims to find ways to combat gender-based violence in the Pacific. Australia has committed up to $3 million over three years to support it.
Next week, PNG and the US will co-host talks in Port Moresby with leaders from the Pacific on ways to improve maternal health, increase economic opportunities, and empower women.
US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, said gender-based violence was a global epidemic and new solutions needed to be considered. She said improving conditions in the Pacific could help end violence.
"Many of these practices are rooted in lack of economic opportunity, lack of status, lack of empowerment."
Ms Verveer said the upcoming talks in PNG would focus on "healthy women, healthy economies".
"Where women are healthy and economies are healthier, we are certainly going to see less violence against women," she said.
Ms Verveer said the issues had to be addressed at the top level of government and at the grassroots level. Laws against violence needed to be enforced and perpetrators punished.
"We also need to change mindsets at the grassroots level and we certainly need to see men and boys playing a greater role in addressing these issues. We need more work at a community level in changing ways that people look at these issues."
Ms Verveer announced the Women's Empowerment Initiative in the Pacific Region last year at the end of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's Asia-Pacific tour.
Source: Australia Network News