News and Information

Making gender a priority in PNG’s public sector

A push to make gender equality a priority in all PNG government agencies is gaining momentum with the support of the Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.

About 20 senior bureaucrats attended a recent gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) workshop, amid high-level moves to drive gender policy reform across the PNG public sector.

The workshop was aimed at supporting the efforts of the Department of Personnel Management (DPM), which now requires public agencies to incorporate GESI principles in their corporate plans.

Participants included senior managers from the Department of Prime Minister, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

They heard from a range of speakers including Australian Human Rights Commission international programs director Natasha de Silva, and senior National Capital District magistrate John Kaumi.

DPM secretary John Kali introduced a National Public Service GESI two years ago, and recently launched a GESI help desk and National Public Service GESI toolkit.

Office for the Development of Women executive director Gayle Tatsi said the commitment of top public sector agencies had given new prominence to the GESI agenda.

“I think it’s really good,” she said.

“Because they are the ones that are very influential when it comes to resources (and) decision making, to actually ensure that the GESI policy is institutionalised and is going to affect or influence our way of thinking.”

A second public sector GESI workshop will be held in Lae this week for provincial and district government officials.

About 38 per cent of PNG’s 94,000 public servants are women. However, they represent only 22 per cent of public sector executives.

The DPM is working to improve both the number of female public servants, and the gender balance at senior levels.

The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct is a PNG-led, Australian supported initiative to develop a new generation of ethical leaders to take the nation into the future.

The Precinct aims to improve governance and service delivery at national, provincial and district levels through education and training programs encouraging values-based decision making.

It will encourage collaboration, debate and engagement between the public and private sectors and civil society and, in time, promote leadership throughout the Pacific region.