Challenges women candidates face in the National General Elections

The society we live in is male-dominated, evident in the National Parliament. There were several women elected to the parliament, but the numbers have not increased beyond three since 1975. It is often difficult for a female candidate to win in the National Elections in Papua New Guinea.

The National Research Institute Spotlight Vol. 17, Issue 10, titled "Challenges and prospects of women candidates in the National General Elections in Papua New Guinea" by Research Officer, Joesph Kaile, looks at the trend of women candidates winning a seat in the parliament and the possibilities of changing the trend.

Some of the challenges that women candidates face include the following:

  • Women candidates must also perform marital duties when contesting for an election, which restricts their time for politicking.
  • Men are often perceived more as leaders than women, which tends to discourage women candidates.
  • Election-related violence against women as a way to intimidate women candidates.
  • Manipulation of counting of completed ballot papers at counting centers against women candidates.

Challenges that women candidates face can be addressed by the following:

  • The candidates should break away from the belief that men are the decision-makers.
  • The candidates must prepare for the election early before contesting it.
  • The Government should consider providing reserved seats for women.
  • The candidates should plan innovative and proper fundraising and should contest under a political party.
  • Candidates who contested in the past and intend to contest again should learn from their past and present strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Political parties should consider endorsing women and give necessary support to them to contest in the elections.


Authorised for release by:
Dr. Osborne O. Sanida
Director, PNG NRI

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