Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, March 14, 2014
— Papua New Guinea’s Business Coalition for Women – the first association of its kind in the Pacific – has held its inaugural meeting and elected a board. The coalition was set up with the support of the Australian Government and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to drive economic growth and reduce poverty by promoting equal opportunities for women.
Nine leading members of PNG’s business community were elected to the board. All board members are committed to promoting opportunities for women and stopping gender-based violence, social, and financial inequity.
“Holding back women holds back everyone in PNG,” said Business Coalition for Women Patron, Lady Winifred Kamit. “Together, as elected members of the Business Coalition for Women, we will have a sound collective voice to shape policy and public debates, and drive change in and through the private sector, which is where most people are employed.”
The coalition has set the following goals for its work:
To promote better workplace policies and practices;
To create opportunities in supply chains for women-owned small businesses;
To reduce gender-based violence and harassment;
To encourage more women to progress to leadership positions in business.
“I applaud those who have signed up to this coalition from the very outset – business has the power not only to drive change in the lives of their female employees, but also in the economy, where the benefits of greater participation and leadership from women is widely recognized” said the Australian Government’s Minister-Counsellor (Development Cooperation) in PNG, James Hall. “The Australian Government is proud to support this initiative.”
“The idea for a coalition came from listening to the concerns of the private sector related to challenges faced by women, employees, managers, and business owners,” said IFC’s Resident Representative in PNG, Carolyn Blacklock. “I want to emphasize that it is a coalition for women, not of women – there are many inspirational men firmly committed to advancing women’s rights and they know that equality is not simply an ethical move – it’s an economic imperative”.