29 Jun 2005

PNG woman minister says women's seats needed to hasten change

2:15 pm on 29 June 2005

Papua New Guinea's only female MP says traditional attitudes against women in politics are changing but reserved seats for women are needed to hasten the process.

Dame Carol Kidu, who is the Community Development Minister, says she hopes at least half a dozen reserved women's seats will be in place for the 2007 election.

According to a report by the AAP news agency, the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has told a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association gender workshop in Port Moresby that Cabinet should have the legislation introduced by 2007.

Dame Carol says there is a growing acceptance in PNG that women could go into politics and also be strong advocates in parliament on social issues.

She says reserved seats for women were necessary to ensure more women representatives.

Dame Carol says with 109 seats in the current parliament, the ideal would be 20 reserved seats for women, but this may take until the election after the next, in 2012.