A ground breaking introduction to BRIDGE Gender and Elections Modules since its inception in the Pacific Islands in 2004, was made to a group of Political Parties in PNG. The workshop was held at March Girls Hotel juts outside Port Moresby, 16-20 August.
Twenty three participants of both gender from nine Political Parties representing as either candidates, administrators and or managers too part.
From a Workshop Facilitator’s (Ms Hamidan Bibi) point of view:
“At first, the participants were rather reserved in their thinking and acceptance of the workshop objectives, outcomes and content, but after a few days of deliberation and active group participation, they were beginning to put the jumbles together and realized the seriousness of various issues in relation to gender equality at all levels of the society.”
“Although some Parties had already begun including women as candidates – thanks to the promotion of the 22 Reserved Seats for Women in Parliament for PNG, others have come to realize the substantial amount of work required in bringing womens’ participation in elections – both as candidates and as voters to the forefront as far as their Parties were concerned to nation building.
“A greater understanding of gender and elections was realized when participants, using different BRIDGE tools and methods analysed issues of gender policies and womens participation in various sectors. Whilst there were pluses, minues and interesting things about having a gender policy and helping bring about equal representation, it was noted that at end of the day, irrespective of the types and levels of organizations and community, having such policies could lead to higher performances, higher productivity and a sustainable future for all.
At the end of the workshop, Mr Korowa Pokeya from the Christian Democratic Party said “we participated meaningfully as women issues in politics were discussed freely with the view to involve women in leadership roles as partners in nation building.”
Dr David Anere, who represented Political Parties in Papua New Guinea, expressed gratitude for the opportunity UNIFEM had granted in providing the BRIDGE Training Program to officials of Political Parties in Papua New Guinea. He said “It was indeed an eye opener and many officials of political parties have expressed interest for a similar course to be conducted again same time next year (2011) soon after the third political parties in PNG ( OLIPPAC) Conference in Kokopo, East New Britain Province.