It was so privilege to sit with male counterparts supporters and followers of MWTE and PNG Attitude reader Mr. Ponabe Yuwa, the Director of Education program for PNG National Commission for UNESCO, and His Excellence Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe for recognizing and nominating the first ever PNG women authored book “My Walk To Equality” (MWTE) for 2018 UNESCO prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education (GWE).The GWE prize was established by the UNESCO and supported by the Chinese government in 2016. It rewards outstanding efforts of individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations and other entities engaged in activities in girls’ and women’s education. The GWE prize contributes to two sustainable Development Goals 4 & 5: “Ensure inclusive and equality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The two outstanding and successful projects that were selected in 2016 were from Indonesia, the Directorate of Early Childhood Education Development and the female students Network Trust from Zimbabwe.
The other two outstanding projects last year were from Thailand and Peru. This year it will be awarded for the third time on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl child on October 2018, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. The My Walk to equality project team are so delighted to be the PNG candidate for UNESCO GWE Prize for 2018. It is an outstanding voluntary literary project of global quality, consists of 45 ingenious women writers from all over 23 provinces of PNG. The project has been operating as a NGO, Civil society or Social media group on a voluntary basis for the last two years. The primary objective of the project is to encourage girls and women to engage in writing and publishing literature as a mechanism for social activism in PNG. The MWTE project itself promotes the fundamental Human Rights of freedom to information and the UN Sustainable Development Goals No.
10- reducing inequalities and inclusive education. The project improve the livelihood of PNG women in the community and the nation through the daily challenges and positive contributions that they made. It is a project that promotes the idea that women and girls are not left behind but actively included in the nation building and where information exchange and literacy work are promoted as the critical link to achieve seemingly difficult task of gender equality and participation by women and girls. One of the things I find this project inspiring is 45 PNG women writers openly supportive and lifting each others up in any serious challenges comes their way. Some of the challenges that we face since the publication of MWTE, we have received a few number of criticisms from females and a good number of supporters from male counterparts in terms of donors and assistance in publishing this great book. This book is a rare window into the lives of PNG women and the challenges we face and the achievements we have made that shows PNG women as individuals with self-will, resourcefulness, tenacious and informed judgement in steering their lives to make positive contributions in PNG society.
Those women who we received criticisms from should celebrates with us, the 45 PNG women writers and contributors of MWTE who sets out some of the issues and problems confronting our PNG women in our daily lives which challenges the myths and stereotypes with the drive to reduce inequalities in PNG. It is a must that women need to support each other’s work and achievements. We’re all lifted up and benefit when we help and celebrate another woman’s accomplishments.
Together we can do more, go further and change the world. It will be a waste of time and effort, if we talk on and on about promoting gender equality and other women issues in the country if we don’t celebrates other women’s achievements and work. If we want to address our own inequality, we have to look at ourselves first.
You can see examples from dude bros do it. They just mind their own business, getting on with things, because that’s what men do. They’re not obsessed with all the rubbish that consumes women. I believe as women we can do this better. It is a sad reality in PNG were women usually don’t stand together for mutual good and instead constantly competes to bring each other down.
It is an unhealthy competition among PNG women, no matter how we try to break the barriers and empower ourselves for oppression from men. Because of self-gratification and greed we cannot collaborate or corporately have a strong voice for advocacy. This attitude has to change for us to move forward.