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So much to say, but let me begin: Some words come from pain

Are PNG men really savage? A balanced view about PNG


PORT MORESBY - Colonial literature portrayed Papua New Guinea as an exotic and savage paradise. I am surprised that view is still maintained by Australians and some learned Papua Guineans.

One such view is that Papua New Guinean men do not respect and treat our women properly. This is a slap in the face for all the caring gentlemen in Papua New Guinea. We know how to open doors, buy chocolates and golden necklaces for our women. We love our women just like anyone else. We don’t live in the stone-age.

Let’s not confuse ourselves with ‘equality’ and ‘gender based violence’.  Equality – equal access to resources and opportunities between men and women. GBV – violence against women. Using economic terms, equality is macro whilst GBV is micro in nature.

I am all for equality and a level playing field. I believe PNG is a country of equal opportunities. In the process of trying to give a based view, I’ve been called names online and misunderstood.

We have laws protecting women’s rights and all our national policies involved equal participation. The government and all companies are equal employers. Men and women are paid the same based on education, qualifications and position ranking.

Our tertiary institutions enrol more females than male students. Australian Awards offers more scholarships to females than males. Infact, women have more opportunities than men in tertiary education.

Women have the same constitutional rights as men to contest in elections. Unfortunately, none of them won in the 2017 elections.

Yes, we have a problem with GBV which is often caused by alcohol, insecurity, jealousy, etc. This is micro in nature because it occurs within a relationship and family.

Both are global issues and not confined to PNG alone. Quantifying the issues is crucial in our understanding of where we stand and whether PNG is really a savage country.

The ‘Global Gender Gap Report’ from the World Economic Forum ranks 150 countries on gender equality. The Forum ranks countries against four main dimensions: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political representation.

According to its most recent report of November 2017, the 15 worst countries for gender equality are; Qatar, Turkey, Mauritania, The Ivory Coast, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Iran, Chad, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen.

PNG may not be the best country to live in, but it is also not the worst. Let’s stop inflating issues without facts and figures and give a balanced view.


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Iso Yawi

Jordan Dean, bro that's an interesting piece, nailed it!

Jordan Dean

Acknowledge all your comments and views. I'll answer Martyn's points.

1. Generally, most companies and the government are equal employers. That's a fact you're trying to twist with another issue, aye? I also know several women who were employed through nepotism or were promoted because of sleeping with the boss. Is that justified because they're women?

2. Everyone has the same constitutional right. No one puts a gun on a women's head when she stands for election or wants to start a business. Eg: Raka is given K500. Ranu is also given K500. But the current scenario is that Raka becomes successful whilst Ranu doesn't. Why? Is it Raka's fault?

3. Are you kidding me? In the government, if Raka and Ranu are Grade 15 officers, they're paid the same. You're not a public servant servant so you have no idea what you're saying. My point is, someone with more papers and experience is paid higher than a new graduate. That's common sense.

4. Again, I stated that GBV is a problem in PNG. I used the word 'micro' in the sense that it occurs behind closed doors. Men don't beat women who they don't know. It is a marital issue or family issue.

I once shouted at a man beating his wife in public and almost ended up fighting with him. It can be nasty when you poke your nose into people private affairs. If you'll small in stature, don't interfere because you'll be beaten up.

The only sensible thing to do is call the police. The law will deal with such cowards.

I've also seen knife wielding women chase their husbands around. But no one makes noise about it because every will say: ah, em girlie girlie man ya!

There's better ways to deal with GBV issues. We all read about the late Ruby Laufa, Regina Morove and the Post-Courier Editor and demanded justice. We're in the same team but see the issue from a different lens.

I prefer a balanced view of the issue.

Hope I made myself clear.

Martyn Awayang Namorong

"Let’s stop inflating issues without facts and figures and give a balanced view."

Interesting punch line which demands facts and figures for many claims made in this article such as:

1. The government and all companies are equal employers.(we know there is a lot of cronyism that goes on both in public and private sector)

2. I believe PNG is a country of equal opportunities.(why are there so many instances of inequality in society including female representation?)

3. Men and women are paid the same based on education, qualifications and position ranking.(evidence?)

4. Yes, we have a problem with GBV which is often caused by alcohol, insecurity, jealousy, etc. This is micro in nature because it occurs within a relationship and family.(its a national phenomenon not "micro")

I am not sure whether Jordan has deliberately chosen to troll everyone like the Trump loving alt-right or is genuinely trying to engage in this discourse.

Each of us has a right to our personal perspectives on life but in public discourses, where does one's personal views find common ground with fellow members of society in order to define what is/isn't a socially acceptable standard?

Michael Dom

Phil, em tasol ia!

And the feeling of entitlement by men for respect and submission, even when in the wrong or to voice a different opinion.

As Wardley writes "meri nating".

Philip Fitzpatrick

I think before you can have equality you need respect.

I suspect that this lack of respect by some men towards women is at the heart of things like violence.

Trish Nicholson

And I would add that there is nothing 'micro' about domestic violence. It is a societal problem not simply a family problem.

Constitutional and legal rights are only so much ink on paper unless there is the political and social will to implement them at all levels.

The extent of violence against women in PNG and the frequent lack of police response, show very clearly that the political and social will is lacking. Without it, women will not have equality, let alone equity.

Trish Nicholson

I rarely push my oar into PNG matters, but as someone whose friends have been maimed and killed by their husbands - who were educated public servants incidentally - your opinions here are ill-informed, Jordan.

If you abhor violence against women, if you are one of the 'good guys', you should be getting behind the movement to end violence against women and gather your mates to do the same.

That is what'good guys'and real men do. There are a lot of them, but not enough of them.

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