Spouses of parliamentarians led by Madam Rachael Marape, wife of Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape and Lady Betty Toroama, wife of Autonomous Region of Bougainville President, Ishmael Toroama stood in solidarity to become active participants in empowering women in their communities by networking and building a coalition to support the development of Papua New Guinea.
This meeting comes as a direct follow up to the National Gender-based Violence Summit held from 8th -10th November.
The meeting held at the Parliament House on Tuesday 10th November focused on Women Economic Empowerment and how they, as leaders in their communities, be vocal in encourage women to speak up. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape and members of the National Executive Council were present to welcome and support the initiative.
Madam Marape on welcoming everyone to the gathering said this was a historical moment with the Theme Meet and Greet, Inspire and Embrace.
She said it was important for spouses of leaders to unite and strategize on how they can play a role and contribute towards women empowerment.
“Studies and research clearly show that investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” she said.
“We as women know we make enormous contributions to our families as spouses, mothers and caregivers. We also contribute to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home.”
Madam Marape acknowledged the presence of Lady Toroama and looked forward to more collaboration and partnership between women of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville.
Lady Toroama reached out to the women of Papua New Guinea. She said it was now time to work together with the women of Bougainville.
Prime Minister Marape gave his assurance on addressing gender-based violence through the Outcome of the National Gender-based Violence Summit and recognised women’s economic empowerment as key strategy to break the cycle of violence and other social ills.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Dirk Wagener, said UNDP was proud to be a part of this historical moment.
He highlighted the importance of having women representation in parliament adding that since independence there have only been seven women in parliament.
“Everyone has an opportunity to be involved in politics including women. But for PNG, it’s not an equal playing field. The government needs to create opportunities for women and to make sure that there are more,” Mr Wagener said.
This event was arranged by Madam Marape, through the Office of the Prime Minister and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its sister agency the United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).