Women 'priced out of the game' in PNG polls

7:53 pm on 8 August 2017

A scholar of Pacific politics says Papua New Guinea election results show women candidates can't afford the cost of running for parliament.

Papua New Guinea national election 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

No women have been elected to the new parliament despite a record number standing for election.

In total, 167 females ran for parliament, five percent of total candidates.

All three women MPs in the previous 111-seat legislature lost their seats in last month's polls.

Kerryn Baker from the Australian National University said assumptions that women would gain more seats over time were not backed up by the evidence.

"What we have seen in recent elections is the increase in money politics, in vote buying, in gifting which just makes campaigning extremely expensive even for candidates who don't practice money politics and so a lot of women who would otherwise be competitive have just been priced out of the game."

Dr Baker said the result showed guaranteed seats for women should be introduced in the PNG parliament.

According to her, specially reserved seats may be unpopular but would at least guarantee women a place in the house.

"A gradual increase which some people kind of assumed would happen when more women are contesting, when more women are becoming active in politics, that that'll inevitably lead to more women winning, that's just not the case, it's not backed up by evidence.

"It just shows the importance of special measures like reserved seats."

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