27 Jun 2005

PNG Government to introduce legislation to reserve parliamentary seats for women within two years

7:30 pm on 27 June 2005

Papua New Guinea's government is looking at reserving parliamentary seats for women to boost their involvement in national politics.

Currently, there is just the one female MP, Dame Carol Kidu, the Community Development Minister.

Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has told a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association gender workshop in Port Moresby that Cabinet should introduce legislation to allow for the designated seats within two years.

He says he's committed to promoting women in leadership roles in PNG.

Sir Michael welcomed the presence at the workshop of two of the three women's representatives elected to the new autonomous government in Bougainville, saying they were an example to other women.

Bougainville's constitution allowed for three of the 40 seats to be set aside for women, though activists in the province had been pushing for up to ten seats to be reserved.

Sir Michael says the Bougainville poll is a demonstration for all women in PNG that it is possible to campaign and be elected.