The struggle for women politicians in Bougainville
Bougainville woman MP who made history winning an open seat last year details her hopes and aims for the ABG government.
Josephine Getsi made history last year, becoming the first woman political candidate in Bougainville to win an open seat.
She won the Peit constituency, running against 11 men.
Bougainville also has three reserved seats for women which will be removed once women are fully accepted across the political spectrum.
Ms Getsi was in New Zealand last week and spoke with Don Wiseman, who began by asking her how it felt to have made history.
JOSEPHINE GETSI: Before I get on to campaigning, there were a lot of issues, whereby people came to me, different people, trying to convince that I should not contest for that seat because it belongs to the men, as it has always been thought of. But to me I believe that the seat belongs to both men and women. And that is why I had the confidence to challenge for that seat.
DON WISEMAN: What sort of support did you get from women, or was it evenly split?
JG: With women, before I even went out for the actual campaign and awareness, I met with women. just to get the idea of how much women are supporting my stand to go forward in my campaign. I met women in my constituency, and they supported me in going forward and contesting the seat.
DW: So there you are then, one year into being part of the ABG [Autonomous Bougainville Government]. How does it feel?
JG: It is a challenge, being new to the parliament but I must say that I am lucky to be with the Deputy [Speaker] Francesca Semoso, who has been in the parliament. So she is a help in monitoring us women who are new to the parliament and giving us advice where needed.
DW: Do you feel like, in that first year, that you have achieved any of the goals that you had?
JG: Well that is where I really need to organise. For one thing I remember when I went around contesting, there are platforms I used when I spoke to the people. One of them is good governance, the other is good services and I am trying my very best in working towards that and going back to the people, and talking to them, emphasizing the fact that being good leaders at their own level is something we should try and build up within us. And secondly giving good services. It is a matter of being a good leader, an honest leader should be able to give good services to the people.
DW: Now in three years there is set to be this vote on possible independence. How do you think it will go?
JG: We are now getting ready as leaders to go out to our own communities. Where I come from I will have to move to my constituency and carry out my awareness. And beside we have women at those levels, regional levels and constituency levels. We had a workshop to let them know how we can move to give out awareness to the people in our communities.
DW: It is a long term isn't it for the ABG, five years. Do you imagine you will be standing again in 2020? Is that your goal?
JG: Yes, yes. It will be the people's choice again. If they think I am able to give the kind of service that they need, then it will be their choice to select again, if I can come for the next five years, by 2020.
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