A range of international and regional commitments have been made to promote women in decision-making in the Pacific, including in national parliaments. Papua New Guinea has made the same commitments. Despite this array of international and regional commitments to advance women in political decision making, Pacific women are still grossly under-represented in parliament. In PNG, there are only 3 female MPs in the 111 member National Parliament.
To support more women to participate in elections and be elected to Parliament and raise awareness on increasing women’s participation in politics and leadership roles, UNDP has been running Practice Parliaments for Women across the Pacific. In April 2012, 50 PNG women participated in the first ever Practice Parliament for Women in the country. The objective of a Practice Parliament for Women is to provide a practical forum to expose participants to the realities of policy-making and being a parliamentarian. While a range of training opportunities have been provided to PNG women, one critique is that these have not often resulted in concrete impacts in terms of leading to women actually engaging in parliament processes. This activity seeks to directly address that concern by training women on parliamentary engagement and then immediately providing them with a forum to apply the skills they have learnt.
The 2017 PNG Practice Parliament Session for Women will be held from 6 March 2017 in Port Moresby, and applications are now open. PNG women who are considering standing for the 2017 national elections or local elections in 2018, and women community leaders who wish to develop their leadership, advocacy and policy skills, are encouraged to apply.