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Women Speak Out! A Report of the Pacific Women's Conference. October 27 – November 2

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

I have been asked to come and say something about Papua New Guinea women. In our Papua New Guinea societies, I can page 15 say that our women do play an advisory role even though that may be indirectly done.

Our women work in the gardens and basically they look after their children and also do the housework. Because of these - working and planting in the gardens, looking after the children, working in the home - the men consult the women about what to do, and the actual decisions are made in the home before they go out to the public. In that way, I should say that our women indirectly do play a part in decision-making in our traditional culture.

Nowadays, it is not so obvious that women are a success. I would like to see an equal recognition of the sexes. I would like to see that there is equality in pay for capability in doing the same type of work.

The idea of ‘women's liberation’ is a bit confused back in our country. Western countries have their own ideas of what ‘women's liberation’ is supposed to be and this has been passed on at our PNG University. In the beginning, I used to think that if I became liberated I had to become like a European woman or her ideas of a ‘liberated’ woman. But I have come to believe now that this, liberation, is not in the sense that they are pushing into us - to go out and demonstrate. We don't need to have all that. We should try to think of ‘liberation’ within our own capabilities, how much we understand, how much we can do, how much we can contribute and not simply go out and demonstrate how we must dress and things like that.