International Women’s Day 2017 – Prime Minister Calls on People to be Bold in Embracing Gender Equality
The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has highlighted the role every Papua New Guinean has to play in enhancing gender equality.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, PM O’Neill said all women and men must take heed of the theme this year of ‘Be Bold for Change’ and work together for gender equality.
“Today, in Papua New Guinea and around the world, we give thanks for the contribution our mothers, daughters, sisters and all women in our communities,” the Prime Minister said.
“This is a day to not only recognise the achievements that have been made in advancing the rights of women, but most importantly to make greater progress.
“We must be bold if we are to change ways of thinking and to have positive action.
“Times have changed in recent decades and years, but we are nowhere close to achieving true gender equality in our society.
“This is in the workplace, in our communities and in our homes.
“Violence against women in particular is intolerable in any form.
“This is not only physical violence, but emotional abuse as well. I call on the men in our communities to be bold and to make change, to stand up for what we know is right in our hearts and to prevent abuse.”
The Prime Minister said in the workplace the Government we will continue to foster equality in departments, in disciplined services and all agencies.
“We can be proud that today we have more women in senior roles than at any other time in our history.
“These are women as departmental heads and through staffing ranks, and in our judiciary.
“But this is not enough and continuous action speaks louder than words.
“In our schools we are seeing positive change with the number of girls receiving an education continuing to grow.
“By making education free for families, more than one million more students are now in school than five years ago, and most of these new students are girls.
“While we have been criticised by people who do not like to embrace change, free education in Papua New Guinea is changing lives and communities.
“With education, and improved literacy and numeracy skills, women have greater opportunities to have careers and to start businesses.
“With education, women are better informed to make family planning choices, and to be able to decide if and at what point in their lives to have a family.
“We must never let the opportunity for free education be lost in the future, and we must continue to ensure girls have equal an opportunity to enjoy their right to education.”
PM O’Neill said when Papua New Guinea hosts APEC in 2018, an important focus of the APEC policy program will be on empowering women in the economy.
“The United Nations has found that the limitations on equal participation in the workforce in the APEC region costs our countries around 89 Billion US dollars each year.
“If only from an economic perspective, we must strive to ensure that the contribution of women in the economy expands, and then we will all share the positive growth this will deliver to our people.
“When we host APEC we will have a range of forums that strengthen women’s economic empowerment, in cities and in regional locations.
“This includes helping women to better access capital, enhance skills and to open opportunities in areas of innovation and technology.
“I encourage Papua New Guinean women to be highly active in APEC in Papua New Guinea next year.”
PNC People’s National Congress March 8, 2017 8.40 pm