29 Jun 2012

New approach sought to get more PNG women MPs

2:35 pm on 29 June 2012

An advocate for increased female representation in Papua New Guinea's parliament says a more careful approach to countering traditional attitudes on gender is needed in order to create reserved women's seats.

Legislation to create 22 reserved seats for women failed to pass through parliament during the last term despite some high-profile support.

A record 135 women are standing in this year's general election, although that figure is only about four percent of all candidates.

Betha Somare says women candidates are disadvantaged from the outset because women are judged by higher standards than men in PNG.

"So I think that if they're going to do a successful lobby here, it has to be a little bit more thought out. You can't argue that the UN is saying that we have to have this. We have to find a convincing argument for this lot of members of parliament to vote for the reserved seats to go ahead."

Betha Somare