In Papua New Guinea the status of women is a matter of serious concern to development planners and practitioners. Although the Constitution ensures equality for both men and women it also places priority on maintenance of cultural traditions and customary mores. Among some groups, traditional attitudes can make it difficult for women to change the community perception of gender roles, especially when these attitudes discriminate against women's equal participation and development. Rapid socioeconomic and legal "modernization" of contemporary PNG society has led to a breakdown of traditional support networks, in many areas of the country creating unfavorable circumstances for women. Violence and property disinheritance are the most tangible effects.
The report was prompted initially by a desire to provide task managers and other staff involved in the Bank's program in the country with a comprehensive basis on which to assess gender issues in their development projects. With a better understanding of the historical and cultural context, more weight will be given to a careful assessment of the impact of policy and program decisions on women. The depth of the research materials and analysis presented by the authors will also provide a valuable compendium for many outside the Bank who are actively involved in the development of Papua New Guinea and will help planners and administrators in addressing the inequality and disadvantages faced by women in Papua New Guinea.
East Asia and Pacific Region