A third woman is declared for the 2012 PNG elections
08 August, 2012
A female-only ballot box for PNG's 2012 Elections. Photo: Mike Wightman / AusAID
History has been made for female representation in PNG’s parliament. Ms Julie Soso is the third woman elected to Parliament in the PNG 2012 elections.
Ms Soso also holds the distinction of being the first PNG woman elected to the position of Provincial Governor and is also the first woman ever to win a Highlands seat in Federal Parliament. Ms Soso’s provincial seat in the Eastern Highlands is widely considered to be one of the toughest seats in parliament to win.
Ms Loujaya Toni has won Lae Open for the Indigenous People's Party and Ms Delilah Gore has won Sohe Open Seat for the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party.
Ms Soso and Ms Toni both attended AusAID-funded pre-election training for female candidates.
The course, run by the Centre for Democratic Institutions, equips female candidates with skills in campaign planning and logistics, including the management of finances and support teams, public speaking and electoral rules.
The training, delivered by the Australian National University in partnership with PNG’s Office for the Development of Women, is designed to level the playing field and ensures female candidates have a fair go in PNG’s elections.
In PNG, female candidates have less access to funding to run campaigns and have difficulty attracting good campaign staff, partly because they have almost no chance of being elected and therefore can’t pay their staff.
A report on the 2007 elections showed female candidates were generally more focused on social welfare, family, good governance and human rights issues and policies.
These qualities are some of the reasons that empowering women to participate in parliament helps achieve good development outcomes.
In the 2012 elections, 135 women ran for office. While it is clear that women’s participation in the electoral process is still limited in PNG, through assistance from partners such as Australia and courageous women like Ms Soso, Ms Toni and Ms Gore, more women will be inspired and empowered to run for future elections.
AusAID at work in Papua New Guinea
Engage Blog: Levelling the playing field: female candidates in the 2012 PNG Elections [external link]
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Last Reviewed: 8 August, 2012