29 Jun 2012

Women candidates "hugely disadvantaged" in PNG election

10:21 am on 29 June 2012

A lobbyist for female representation in Papua New Guinea's parliament says women candidates standing in elections are hugely disadvantaged.

A record 135 women are standing in this year's general election, although that figure makes up around only 4 percent of the total candidates.

Legislation to create 22 reserved seats for women failed to pass through the last parliament.

Betha Somare says many men are against creating reserved seats because they believe it's currently a level playing field, something she rejects.

"Say up in certain areas of the Highlands and it's been documented, women candidates that have stood, their supporters have been threatened. They're threatened in that, if you stand, then your whole houseline will suffer. So in order to stop unrest and things like that in your area, they back off."

Betha Somare says that being under-resourced compared with men, it's also harder for women to campaign.