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Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG

Reforming a parliament of men

Haus tambaran
The main chamber of PNG's parliament house which has 111 seats for members of parliament but at the last election could find no room for women

| PNG National Research Institute

NRI Discussion Paper 178, ‘Challenges and critical factors affecting women in the 2017 National Elections: Case of Lae and Huon Gulf’ by Mary Fairio, Sarah Kaut Nasengom and Cathy Keimelo, National Research Institute, Port Moresby, 2020. You can read the full paper on the PNG NRI website here:

PORT MORESBY - In Papua New Guinea there is no equal playing field for female candidates when it comes to the national elections.

Female candidates who contest for political leadership face a lot of challenges.

This discussion paper looks into two main areas: why women are not elected to parliament and the main challenges faced during the 2017 national elections.

The research is based on a case study undertaken in Lae and Huon Gulf Electorates in Morobe Province.

The study was carried out to better understand the barriers women face in political participation.

It showed that despite female candidates’ good campaign strategies, they were faced with major challenges such as gendered stereotype sentiments, cultural perceptions and money politics, which affected their campaign and the election outcome.

The focus was on female candidates who contested the 2017 national elections and the paper finds that female candidates in the electorates studied lacked resources, influence and money, among the key determinants that influence voters.

The paper looks at their campaign experiences and challenges and the perceptions and factors that influenced election outcomes, and offers some recommendations to improve the participation of women in leadership at the national level.

The paper suggests that approaches to support female candidates to increase their chances of winning national elections must be holistic, inclusive and sustainable.


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Bernard Corden

Here is one from one of my wantoks:

"The best theatre is trying to tell the truth and the best politics is trying to tell the truth." - Glenda Jackson

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