20 Apr 2010

PNG PM confident women will get 22 seats in parliament

6:48 pm on 20 April 2010

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, says he's confident plans for reserved seats for women in the national parliament will win enough support among MPs.

There are hopes that 22 new seats, one in each province, will be set aside from the 2012 election with the aim of ensuring more of a voice for women in parliament.

In the last election, PNG voters elected only one woman into the 109-strong house.

Sir Michael, who is on a visit to New Zealand, says 82 of those MPs now support having seats reserved for women and he hopes that holds until the final vote.

He says PNG society is changing.

"Women are playing a very important role for us, particularly in education and health and our community services and I think it is very important for us to recognise. Sometimes people in the past have said that Papua New Guinea is based on male, ah male dominance and it's quite true in a society like ours, but I think its changing."