Papua New Guinea's former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has thanked members of parliament who voted for two important Bills.
Parliament has this week agreed to create two new provinces, Jiwaka and Hela, and passed the Equality and Participation Bill which sets up 22 reserved seats for women.
The newspaper, The National, reports Sir Michael, says he is glad the two bills have finally passed after his government laid the foundation for them.
He says he is glad that Hela and Jiwaka would enter the 2012 election as separate provinces effectively breaking away from Southern Highlands and Western Highlands.
Sir Michael says that since 52 percent of the country's population is made up of women, it is important that they are recognised and allowed to make decisions as they are equal partners in development.