Women MPs vital for PNG’s future, says campaigning Somare-Brash

Angoram candidate Dulciana Somare-Brash
Angoram candidate Dulciana Somare-Brash ... "Women and children and youth seem to be left at the back of the line." Image: RNZ

RNZ Pacific

A female candidate in the Papua New Guinea elections believes it is more important than ever that the country has women MPs in Parliament.

Dulciana Somare-Brash is the daughter of the late Sir Michael Somare and she unsuccessfully stood in the East Sepik regional seat in 2017, finishing fourth in the vote count.

This time she is standing in the Angoram seat in East Sepik, which has previously been held by her brother, Arthur Somare.

Papua New Guinea has had very few women MPs over the country’s 47 years of independence, and none in the current Parliament.

Somare-Brash said it was vital that changed in this year’s general election — and she was hoping to be part of that change.

“Papua New Guinea is growing so quickly. We are growing at a population rate of about 3.8 percent each year. We don’t have female representation in Parliament at all and that too is a huge motivator for why I continue to persist,” she said.

“I work in a political space, as a technical advisor, and I am hoping, as I see my support base increase that I might have some success at the polls this time.”

Lack of equity ‘motivating force’
Somare-Brash said the lack of equity for many in PNG society — women and children, particularly — was a motivating force for her.

“I feel very confident with the policy priorities that I am promoting, with a deep understanding of my people and their challenges.

Women in PNG at a market in Port Moresby
Women in PNG at a market in Port Moresby … a record number of women candidates is anticipated for the general election in July. Image: Koroi Hawkins/RNZ Pacific

“And certainly the issues of the importance of equity in the benefit sharing arrangements in Papua New Guinea, where women and children and youth seem to be left at the back of the line when we are divvying out the spoils, if you like, from our massive resource base in Papua New Guinea.”

The nominations period is not yet finished but a record number of women candidates is anticipated.

Voting, over a two week period, is set to begin July 9.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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