PNG KNOW YOUR WOMAN CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED04 June 2012
The “Know Your Woman Candidate 2012: Vote Women”, an exciting initiative to support women contesting in this year’s National Elections in Papua New Guinea, has been launched.
The campaign, which officially became public last week, is spearheaded by the National Council of Women and supported by UN Women, and is the first of its kind in Papua New Guinea.
With the intent to promote and encourage equal participation in Parliament, special highlights of women candidates who are running for parliamentary seats, are being profiled in the media through this campaign. Through the media, these women, will be introduced to the general public, where their life stories, accomplishments, successes and challenges will be highlighted.
The National Council of Women (NCW) has therefore inviting all interested women candidates to come forth and be a part of the campaign.
“For too long we’ve been the underdogs. It’s time now to make way for more women to step up and make that difference – in Parliament,” said NCW President, Schola Kakas.
She said that Papua New Guinea had some very competent women leaders who are not only qualified or experienced, but capable of bringing significant changes if given the chance.
“It is time now for Papua New Guinea to give women this chance”.
“I urge all our fellow men and women to think wisely and vote wisely in these elections; make an impact, and vote for our women,” said Ms Kakas.
“Amidst all this recent political instability, PNG needs a positive change. And having more women politicians, we are confident, with their composure and peaceful characteristics, we can bring that about” she added.
The NCW commended and thanked outgoing sole female Politician and Port Moresby South East MP, Dame Carol Kidu, for being a champion and role model for the women and the people of Papua New Guinea. She also commended her, for the tremendous impact she made during her terms in Parliament.
“She has made a big difference not only to the lives of women in this country… but to the young, elderly, the disabled and everyone else that came under her leadership,” said the NCW President.
In acknowledging Dame Kidu, Ms Kakas stated, “You’ve been a mother, a leader, and everything one would aspire for in a leader, and we thank you for all that you have been, and all that you have done for us”.
In 2007, 101 women contested in the general Elections. Dame Kidu was the only woman who succeeded to secure a place in parliament. This year, there are 136 women contesting, a significant increase from the last elections.
Ms Kakas through the NCW in this respect has commented that, “This is a bold stand for change and progress in Papua New Guinea and we salute these women”.
She stated that Dame Kidu has left behind a legacy for these women to aspire to, and more so, to be able to break through the gender status quo in Parliament.
The National Council of Women also made special mention of outgoing politician and women’s’ supporter, Sir Mekere Morauta, acclaiming him as perhaps one of the most influential and prudent economists and financial professionals that the country has been privileged to have.
“The NCW, on behalf of all women, salutes such leadership from the likes of Dame Kidu and Sir Mekere.”
Meanwhile, special thanks were made to the political parties that have endorsed or are supporting women candidates.
President Kakas said this is a positive sign for gender equality and equal participation. It also shows the parties’ confidence and faith in their fellow-women.
“It is now up to the people to decide,” she added. Ms Kakas challenged citizens to think carefully and vote wisely for the welfare of the people of Papua New Guinea.
While a final list of the women candidates is yet to be released by the Electoral Commission, all women candidates who are interested in having their profiles set up and distributed are advised to contact the Know Your Woman Candidate 2012 telephone lines: 321 9855, 328 9852 or (mobile) 7117 3262.
Meanwhile The National Council of Women has also paid tribute to the UN Women.
In acknowledging their contributions for the joint partnership, Ms Kakas stated that the UN Women had lent its unequal support and assistance with the campaign to promote potential women leaders in this first of its kind initiative. She noted that UN Women had provided financial and administrative support to the campaign.
UN Women’s National Programme Specialist in PNG, Ms. Julie Bukikun, in response stated that the UN Women was privileged to be partnering NCW in the promotion of women participation in PNG’s leadership and parliamentary representation. She said that through the “Know Your Women candidate 2012”, the NCW and UN Women partnership, intends to give each woman in the elections campaign, a face.
Ms Bukikun stated that “The issue on the law relating to the reserve seats for women remains outstanding. The amendment to the Constitution to create women’s electorate is a Constitutional law and the Government needs to take action as a responsible Government to realize the rights of women in PNG” – it is the Government’s Constitutional duty to ensure this”.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women remains strongly committed to the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and continues to promote the elimination of discrimination against women and girls and their empowerment, with continued pursuance of gender equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.