Women, Youths and Children wins!

Posted: July 30, 2007 in Citizenship, Information, Politics

With the returning of the Writs being deferred to next week and almost all except 6 of the 109 seats yet to be declared, many of the people are in celebration mode of their candidates either retaining thier seats or wining their respective electorates seat. The saddest results of all is that Papua New Guinea may have yet again only one women in the Parliament in the form of Dame Carol Kidu.

 

In a society where men turms to be the decision makers and women plays a very important and unnoticed background role in the community, women have always wanted their voice and pleas to equality to be heard. Times are changing fast and womens’ role in the society are also important as to a man. Women wants to be counted as equal to a man and effect their rights as stipulated in the UN conventions.

Nearly 100 women stood for election and it may be only one that returns to fight for them. Dame Carol Kidu, member for Moresby South electorate and Minister for Welfare and Social Development retains her seat after a very close contest with the Happy Gardener Justin T’kachenko who is now not so happy anymore. Dame Carol Kidu’s win is the result of her hard work in setting policy framework that targets women, youths and most especially children in Papua New Guinea. Her  election victory is their victory. “now it time for implementation. Five years of policy making is over, now we will implement the policies” – Dame Carol Kidu

So what is the X-factor that is making women not getting  voted into the Parliament? My assessment of women not getting elected is because most women still do not know how to win votes. Their campaigning styles and techinques is all wrong. Here is an example of wrong campagn speeches; ‘votim mi, mi gutpela mama na mi gat 6pela pikinini. Mi lukautim gud ol pikinini blo mi, sopos yu votim mi, mi bai lukautim yu tu olsem mi lukautim pikinini blo mi’

And there are more campaign speeches thats centers around themselves and how good their motherhood is. That’s all wrong, you’ll never win an election with these. If women are to win elections…they need to start looking at the bigger picture and campaign on policy issues and how it will help thier electorate.

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Got this on the web today

Rebel love transforms schoolgirl into Dame

Monday Aug 27 12:46 AEST

The Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire is taking a nap on the wooden floor of a house on stilts over the Coral Sea, oblivious to the election-day buzz around her. It’s a brief rest-stop on an odyssey that has taken Dame Carol Kidu from a childhood as an “ordinary Aussie girl” to a life where she is as comfortable dining with royalty as eating from a Papua New Guinea cooking pot. 

The petite 58-year-old opens an eye at the sound of her name, grimaces at the sight of a camera, but graciously gets to her feet and applies a quick dash of lipstick in a small mirror hanging on the bare wooden wall. The original family home in Pari village on the beach south of the capital Port Moresby is doubling as campaign headquarters for Kidu’s re-election fight for her seat as the only female member of Papua New Guinea’s parliament. “People thought I was crazy — the diplomatic circles thought I was absolutely mad — to think that a white woman could win in politics here, but I knew I could,” she says, settling into a chair on a cool verandah.

Coconut palms sway in the breeze, smoke drifts from a cooking fire producing meals for her campaign staff, children laugh as they play football on the beach — and a fierce light shines suddenly in Kidu’s eyes.“From the day my husband died, I had this obsession that I was going to stand for politics. I was a very angry woman because his death was attributed to the way he had been treated politically.”Kidu’s love for her husband was the controversial starting point for her remarkable journey. 

Carol Millwater was a 16-year-old teenager when she met and fell in love with Buri Kidu, descendant of Papua New Guinean warriors, at a holiday camp on Australia’s Gold Coast near her suburban home in Brisbane. Kidu was attending the nearby Toowoomba Grammar School on a colonial scholarship from PNG, a tropical outpost off Australia’s northeast coast where some tribes had their first contact with the outside world in the 1930s. 

Romance blossomed, recalls the small woman with windblown fair hair above a floral blouse, black slacks and bare feet.The courtship led to marriage in 1969, when she was just 20, and a move to the timber home in the fishing village on the edge of a mysterious and rugged land of rainforests and mist-shrouded mountains. “I’m sure my mum and dad worried enormously, but they couldn’t contradict our upbringing that everyone was equal,” says Kidu, the daughter of a clerical worker.“And my late husband was a unique person. He was a man before his time here, he was a man who could walk in both worlds very well,” she adds.

The small tribal tattoos on her pale wrists suggest she can do the same. The young wife became a schoolteacher and her husband a lawyer, but life centred on the village.“Our whole life was traditional activities. At the weekends we would be out in traditional canoes to collect firewood, out collecting sea urchins.” Their marriage created difficulties with both the expatriate community and traditional society.“Mixed marriages were very rare, especially where the woman was from outside — it was usually expat men marrying local women who then lived an expat life. “His family was apprehensive I could take him away, but he made it very clear he wasn’t going to move into the lifestyle of an expatriate. “The expats had nothing to do with me — there was little interchange between the lifestyles. It wasn’t easy. I did a lot of crying, but Buri’s mother was a very special woman, very supportive.

In the early days, Kidu earned more than twice as much teaching as her husband did as a lawyer because she was Australian and he was “on native wages.”Even so, in village life “roles were very clearly defined, women do the drudgery and the work — not that they’re necessarily unhappy with their lot. “On top of teaching, I’d come home and scrub pans.

On weekends we’d go to the gardens, go shellfishing, all those traditional women’s activities.“When I was first here men would perform magic before planting the yams — it was still very traditional, no water, no power, we used hurricane lamps.  “I did what I could do, I carried the bundles of firewood, but I didn’t chop it.“I think the expatriates undoubtedly thought I was a bit strange. They probably thought I was downtrodden and submissive.” Kidu says she and her husband lived as equals in their personal life, but played the appropriate gender roles in the village. 

“When I pushed the issue of marriage he actually said: ‘Never ask me to choose between you and my people because I tell you now I’ll choose my people’.“I came here on that condition. It’s been very enriching — I don’t regret it at all.”In fact, says Kidu, she feels she has lived a privileged life. 

The expat/native tables were turned in 1975 when Papua New Guinea became independent, and Buri Kidu rose rapidly through the legal ranks, being appointed chief justice in 1980.He was later knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who remained PNG’s head of state, transforming suburban Brisbane’s Carol Millwater into Lady Carol.In 2005, long after her husband’s death, her tireless campaigns on behalf of the poor, the dispossed and the downtrodden led to Lady Carol becoming a Dame Commander in her own right for services to Papua New Guinea. 

What do people call her now? “A lot still call me Lady, others call me Dame, but I’ve got two honorary doctorates so I’m Doctor Dame,” she says with a smile. “These things don’t really mean much to me.”Kidu has met Queen Elizabeth “several times,” she says, and tells a story of one rich royal meal that left her husband hungry for plain village fare. 

“One night we left the kids here to be looked after and we went to dine on the (royal yacht) Brittania.“As soon as we got out Buri said, ‘Come let’s go home’ — he wanted some rice and corned beef. He was starving because, you know, these tiny little portions… We came home and I put the rice on

.”They had four children and adopted two others. All have gone on to careers in law or the arts. They have kept the family home in the fishing village, but Kidu now lives mainly in a house she helped design on nearby tribal land. 

Buri Kidu served as chief justice for 13 years, earning a reputation for judicial independence from the government. In 1993 the government, in Dame Kidu’s words, “dumped him from the judiciary.”Six months later, the widely-respected judge died of a heart attack at the age of 48. Supporters believe the stress caused by the perceived injustice of the government’s treatment of him contributed to his early death.“After he was not reappointed to the judiciary there was a lot of pressure on him from people to stand for politics.  “At one time I said ‘you’re not going to escape it, people will force you into it’, and I remember he turned to me and said ‘Well, why don’t you bloody well do it?'”

After his death, she did, defying the odds and winning the Moresby South seat in the 1997 elections to become the first white woman ever to sit in parliament.“I was very passionate and determined,” she says. Kidu was re-elected in 2002 and served as the Minister for Community Development until fresh elections in July.

Two weeks after her election-day interview with AFP it was announced that she had retained her seat.Asked whether she is taken seriously in the otherwise all-male parliament, the glint returns to her eye. “Yes, when I decide I’m right and someone else is wrong I don’t back down. Yes, I’m taken seriously, very seriously.” Kidu says she was driven into politics by “issues of social justice, human rights, marginalised groups, things of that nature,” but will not stand again in 2012.

“The electorate is very, very demanding, the urban poverty is very difficult. People don’t have anywhere to turn, so you’re constantly trying to deal with destitution.”As darkness creeps over the fishing village the yells of the ragged children on the beach grow louder, mangy dogs slink among the rubbish under the raised houses, pigs snort in their slatted cages over the water. “This is part of life,” says Kidu, gesturing vaguely around. “I’m just part of it, part of the furniture. “It’s hard. Everyone’s got a lot of needs. Often I think, ‘Oh boy, I’ve had enough of this’.

But then…”Kidu leaves the sentence hanging in the balmy evening air as she gets to her bare feet and makes her way back into the house to speak to her supporters, sitting on the floor, where she had earlier been woken from her nap. 

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Comments
  1. rodney itaki says:

    I think another factor major factor also is that husbands, brothers and cousins and other men in our society also need to stand up and speak for women going into politics. They also need to support them during campaigns.

    While I agree with your last paragraph, I think it also reflects lack of proper guidance and support for women in politics. You need to have men and women who are experienced in election campaigns, media relations and general PR that need to work and support women in politics. If we sit back and allow them to do it on their own, they won’t get anywhere. After all PNG is a male dominated society. It is the men that need to make the move to support women in politics.

  2. Rex says:

    Rodney

    That is so true……I remember when former MP and Minister for Justice Nahau Rooney stood for election. She didn’t go out there and campaign for herself. Her husband was her campaign manager and to see a physical imposing person out there supporting his wife was something.

    Nahau also had clan leaders campaign for her. She was able to get them to support her and she did win the election. Getting a women to succeed in a male dominated society especially in a traditional setting is amazing and Nahau Rooney was able to pull that off.

    Rex

  3. rodney itaki says:

    Yeah Rex, Nahau Rooney was in a league of her own.

    On side issue, you may have read on my blog about a charity organisation by a friend of mine from England. The charity organisation called Transformation PNG is aimed at providing cervical cancer diagnosis services to the underserved rural majority.

    You can view the document on the organisation here:
    http://pacificfamilyhealth.wordpress.com/files/2007/08/transformation-png-2007.pdf

    My friend, Ian will be in Port Moresby during the medical symposium and he would like to meet with individuals who may help in anyway possible and I would be grateful if you could meet him there. Infact, it would be my chance to meet you too…lol

    Please pass the word around and if anyone is interested we call all meet there. Ian is planning to organise a small meeting for all interested during the symposium.

  4. Rex says:

    I wonder isf any women can pull that off in the next election?

  5. badira says:

    Interesting question there Rex.

    If we look at both scenerios Nahau Rooney and Carol Kidu had something in common. And that was very capable and respectful husbands. Both men had the hearts for the People and were very passionate about issues. I think this was the strenght within these ladies.

    For a lady to come up through the ranks to matchup with Dame Abaijah, Dame Kidu, Nahau Rooney, Eni Moietz and few others, they have to be empowered first by their family and the rest will fall into place.

    tingting tasol.

  6. Ms Dee says:

    I agree with all the above comments, its time that men recognised the good that women can do in politics and act upon that by throwing their support behind them.

    However this means that to a large extent we have to change the mind sets of most men and women in PNG including the younger generation because our generation and those before it saw men in politics and being dominant and to a certain extent this has created a type-set mind that only men belong in politics. The fact that there is only one women in the government today is evidence of this.

    We really need to start educating ourserlves, men and women, that women could be just as good, if not better than their male predecessors. We need to be open minded to the idea that women can make it in politics and should be in politics for better representation and not just on the principle of equality.

    We can’t do much about these Elections but we can do something about the next lot.

  7. badira says:

    Great thoughts Ms Dee totally agree.

    My question is how we the kids of this generation try to empower our women folks? What should we do?

    I think to empower we have to change the traditional mindsets. I am totally convinced that media plays a very vital role in shaping culture and society. That has to be used.

    Any suggestion on women empowerment for our male folks to consider?

  8. Rex says:

    badira and Ms Dee

    I really appreciate your comments and questions which stimulate discussions.

    Trying to change a tradtional mindset is like trying to change the world. It’s not easy to do something like this. And I do agree with you Badira that media plays an important role in the society.

    Ds Dee is very correct to say that “we need to be open-minded that women can make it in politics…” But these women cannot do it alone. They need the support of their male counter-part and their husband.

    I observed Mary Karo, Philomina Kassman and Janet Sape campaigning (exlcude Dame Kidu). What strikes me about them is that their husband and partner is no where around or is not giving thier physical support to campaign with her. Why is that happening?? It gives an impression that their husband is not supportive of thier effort and if he is not…then other males won’t vote for her. And thats traditional, if your husband ddon’t recoznise you…..others won’t.

    Man play a very important role for a women to get the support of her community. I don’t know….but maybe it’s a pride thing that some husbands don’t like thier wife to get the attention. If these husbands can work on thier ego and support thier wife…I’m sure we will have alot of women in the parliament.

  9. popol says:

    Why are women not getting voted into the Parliament? Why do we have so many corrupt leaders in the Parliament? Of course there are corrupt and leaders in others countries as well, but in PNG it is well pronounced. There is corruption at all levels. We know that, and so we want to have women in Parliament for a change. Yet not more than one woman can make it into Parliament. Rex is right when he says women’s styles and techniques of campaigning is all wrong. I also think that most of the problems that we are facing (corruption, women not getting votes etc) are related to our culture; our so called “bigman” culture.

    Certain aspects of our culture need to change (sorry about that, I know its our culture, but cultures do change, don’t they?). Don’t ask me how we can change our attitudes, I know everyone is a product of his or her culture, and it will take much effort and a long time to change people’s mindset about certain issues, but if only we could change some of our attitudes towards leadership and women, then I’m sure we can solve some of the problems we are facing.

    A lot of women accept the fact that they are inferior. I have come across women like that. They think their only role is child bearing and looking after the children, and so during their election campaigns they say “votim mi, mi gutpela mama na mi gat 6pela pikinini. Mi lukautim gud ol pikinini blo mi, sopos yu votim mi, mi bai lukautim yu tu olsem mi lukautim pikinini blo mi” In other words they are saying “I am a mother and my job is to bear and look after children and I am good at it”.

    Not only that man should change their attitudes towards women but also women must believe in themselves and believe that they are as capable as men and that their role is not restricted to “motherhood” only. The nation does not need “mothers”, it needs “leaders”, whether it be female or male. So women, stop using your “motherhood” role to get into Parliament. In our culture “motherhood” and “leadership” don’t go together. Women should see themselves not only as mothers but also as women who are capable to taking the leadership role.

  10. badira says:

    Thank you popol for you well thought out idea,

    I think the key sentence you have used “it will take much effort and a long time to change people’s mindset…”

    The reason I’m saying that is we young people should somewhat forget that this change may not happen in our life time. If we think that way, I think the change becomes less stressing and more practical to achieve. So, lets have a vision not for our generations but for our childrens generation..although we were hard done in some areas of national development by the past generation of our so called leaders, founders and fathers. Our generation should look forward… What can we practically do to empower our women folks and change the mindset of our men folks? How can we change the mindset our little girls and boys.

    I think one better and practical way to stimulate the domino of change is with our 3 and 5years kids running around on the streets, school ground and at home.

    Ecourage cooperation, competition and consultation between gender in school. Quize competition on emTV between Marianville girls and boys from Gordens Secondary does more to promote gender equality and change traditional mindsets then a member going on and on about women empowerment. Just imagine and all girls school giving the boys at Gordens Secondary School a hiding!…would be awesome huh…lol

    Anyway practical classroom activities, curriculum change to emphasis gender equality are some of the things that must be engineered to foster change of mindset for our future generations. If we start now, probably when we are 60..we may see 10 female MPs…now thats what i call development..after 30+ years we only have 1 female MPs, same on our founders i reckon!

  11. popol says:

    badira

    Absolutely!

  12. Rex says:

    @Badira

    Yes….that is so true….I remember when I was in in Kila Kila and at Gordons we have inter-school quizs and debates. The debate was very welcome as it gives alot of people especially women to argue about issues. I wonder why they don’t do that anymore.

    There is also one trend I noticed. Such debates never occur in UPNG. Don’t aske me why……but lack of good debates are out of the questions. Okay….maybe the law students debates….but what happens to the other strands?? Political Science and the rest?

    They talk about women empowerment crap…..yet they don’t even do the simpliest thing to try and get sharpen thier skills.

  13. Joe Klapat says:

    I think that Women’s issues have been too dominant….what about the men in Papua New Guinea??/ Don’t they have rights? I will never subscribe to reverse discrimination…

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