Papua New Guinea's only woman MP Dame Carol Kidu says she hopes women will work together to contest the open seats in this year's election now legislation for reserved seats has been defeated.
The legislation, which would have created a reserved seat for a woman in each of the 22 provinces, needed an absolute majority of 73 votes in the 109- member parliament.
In a vote on Wednesday it got the support of 58 MPs with one abstention.
21 MPs left the chamber just before the vote.
Dame Carol, who is the opposition leader, says she is disappointed but not surprised at the result.
She hopes it will make women more determined to contest the open seats and use preference votes strategically.
"And women really working together to block out the preferences and things. And if women can block out votes and get people voting One or Two for women - because in some electorates I think three women are going to stand. And I don't see that as bad, as long as they all work together - work together and block the votes, you know."