Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

160309 Address by Australia's Deputy High Commissioner Ms Bronte Moules at the International Women's Day networking morning tea in Port Moresby

                         International Women’s Day Networking Morning Tea

                                                Remarks by Ms Bronte Moules

              Australia's Deputy High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea 

                                    Australian High Commission, Port Moresby

                                              9 March 2016, 10:00 am – 11:00 am



  • Dr Cecilia Nembou, President - Divine Word University
  • Partners and friends

Welcome to today’s event.

We’re here to celebrate International Women’s Day which is marked annually on 8 March.

Since its origins in the labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and Europe, International Women’s Day has acquired a global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

It’s a time to reflect on progress made in the past year and to recommit to addressing the persistent barriers to the realisation of full gender equality and women’s empowerment.

We’re very happy that Dr Cecilia Nembou has been able to join us this morning.  Her achievements in the field of mathematics and her extensive academic career are remarkable. She’s a terrific role model for Papua New Guinean women wanting to excel in their chosen endeavour.

Dr Nembou will share her story with us shortly.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Pledge for Parity’.  This theme was adopted in response to data released by the World Economic Forum which showed that progress towards gender equality has in fact slowed.

Promoting gender equality is a core element of much of Australia’s international engagement.

Last week, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launched a strategy for our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which places gender equality and women’s empowerment centrally in Australia’s foreign policy, our economic diplomacy, our development assistance and our corporate operations.

It confirms three priorities for our work:

  • Women’s economic empowerment, and
  • Women’s participation in leadership and peacebuilding.
  • Ending violence against women and girls.

Just as we continue to work on these issues in Australia, we’re committed to working through our partnerships here in Papua New Guinea to help address the challenges faced by women and girls.

We have many programs in many sectors.  For example:

  • Our Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Program (2012-2022) promotes gender equality in the region, supporting many programs that provide support services to survivors of violence. 

                  - Under the Pacific Women program, PNG receives nearly 20 per cent (AUD 58 million) of the AUD320 million, ten-year investment.

  • We provide funding to the Femili PNG Case Management Centre (AUD 3.09 million over 3 years) in Lae to help women and children who are victims of violence to receive medical support and immediate shelter, legal support and other services.
  • We’re supporting the UN Women Safe Cities Program (AUD 6.7million over 5 years), to improve the infrastructure and safety for women in three Port Moresby markets, so that women can trade without fear of violence.
  • We’ve provided support to the Women Human Rights Defenders Network, through Oxfam, to continue their work rescuing victims of extreme and sorcery related violence, and helping them re-integrate into society.
  • Our support to the law and justice sector has helped the RPNGC to establish 17 family and sexual violence units (FSVUs) across the country.  Over 40,000 survivors have received help from these Units over recent years.
  • In education, we provide around 500 scholarships each year for Papua New Guineans to study at health and education institutions across PNG.  Last year 70 per cent of the awardees were women.
  • We’re supporting male advocacy through the PNG’s Public Sector Gender Equality and Social Inclusion policy.  This includes supporting a male advocacy network in the public sector – men who train and work with other men to change social norms.

In any discussion of gender parity, investing more in the education of girls has to be at the core.  Research shows that it is the single most important activity that any country can support.

This involves, among other things, girls having the opportunity to excel in different fields of education and get the skills and support they need to study further and work in growth industries.

A crucial part of this is supporting women studying and working in research, science, technology, engineering and maths.

We look forward now to hearing from Dr Nembou about her remarkable experiences in these areas.

Thank you.