The Pacific Women’s Political Empowerment Research Group was launched by Professor Rosita Henry and Dr Lesley Clark as part of the International Women’s Day 2021, events at JCU.
The Pacific Women’s Political Empowerment Research Group seeks to address research and knowledge gaps in women’s political empowerment and representation in the Melanesian sub-region of the Pacific. The Group will focus on PNG initially, as there are currently no women in the national Parliament and the next election is scheduled for June 2022.
The research relates to the Cairns Institute's research theme - Social & Environmental Justice – the goal of which is to assist communities to respond to social and environmental change and increase social inclusion through projects committed to social justice, health and wellbeing.
The group is led by Professor Betty Lovai, Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) at the University of Papua New Guinea, and Dr Lesley Clark, Adjunct Research Fellow with The Cairns Institute. Dr Clark is currently the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Champion for the Alumni Initiative, a project of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Network which aims to use mentoring by experienced Members of Parliament to support newly elected women parliamentarians across the Commonwealth.
As its first project, the Pacific Women’s Political Empowerment Research Group is working on a rapid assessment of what has been learnt from the results of the 2017 PNG elections, what actions have been taken to date, and are planned to increase women’s political participation and election to Parliament
This report will serve as a valuable guide for PNG government, the Electoral Commission, the Integrity for Political Parties and Candidates Commission, the National Council of Women, other NGO’s and international donors in the leadup to the 2022 election.
A second research project is a longitudinal study that will focus on the performance and experience of a representative sample of women candidates over the pre and post-election period, July 2021 to July 2023.