PRIME Minister Peter O'Neill says the government plans to have more women take an active role
in national affairs and the economy, The National reports.
It was part of the message he delivered last Friday at the United Nations general assembly in his first address to world leaders.
"I believe that women play a critical role in all facets of development, therefore, the government
has recently passed the first vote on a parliamentary bill that will provide for 22 reserved seats for women to contest in the national election in 2012 besides contesting for any of the existing 109 seats," O'Neill said.
He said PNG appreciated the push by multi-lateral partners such as the Asian Development Bank
and the World Bank on gender equality.
And he urged them to support PNG's financial institutions and positively discriminate in favour of women by specifically allocating 10% of all funds without risk to be lent to women entrepreneurs to develop small and medium-sized enterprises.
"The good news is that many studies confirm the fact that women are good entrepreneurs, but even better when properly supported," he said.
"We note the recently adopted San Francisco declaration by Apec countries last week under the leadership of the United States of America.
"This is a major step forward in supporting women in business and is a powerful tool for women of Apec member countries like mine to effectively participate in business and the economy of our country.
"We will encourage our women in Papua New Guinea and urge the wider Apec community to take advantage of opportunities created by the declaration," the prime minister said.