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Key thematic issues.

2.1 Introduction

Gender issues are influenced by a complex set of interlocking factors so it is difficult, or even impossible, to disentangle the different elements which affect the current status of women in PNG. Many of the key thematic issues that construct a gender analysis of PNG are interrelated.

The interplay of culture and tradition, and colonial and post-colonial developments, make it hard to point to a hierarchy of importance for these different factors.

2.2 Women and Economic Participation

Key Gender Problems

In PNG the economic role of women is essential to the subsistence economy but is both underestimated and devalued by men and by economic observers. Table 2 illustrates that the highest percentage of females are self-employed and unpaid, as compared to other types of employers. Of those women that are paid, the majority is paid by church or missionary groups. Women are least represented in areas of the private sector.

The graph of employees by industry group and gender in the previous section (Graph 1) illustrated that the majority of people (85% of the population) gain a livelihood through agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Women's work figures largely in subsistence gardening, livestock rearing, fishing and cash cropping. Women are mostly employed in traditionally female areas such as community and social services, as well as the retail trade. Forestry, logging, construction and milling employ hardly any women.

In the workplace women are often discriminated against and do not have access to information and support to ensure that their rights are respected, and that they have equal access to services. If women are to participate at all levels of the economy they will require assistance and advice from private and public sector personnel. The Individual and Community Rights Advocacy Forum statement on 'Gender Equality' notes that:
 The public service in PNG is the largest
 employer of women, yet few women have
 been able to attain high level positions.
 Since Independence, less than five women
 have held departmental head and senior
 administrative positions. Only 10 of the
 18 boards and councils have women's representation
 (ICRAF: 1997, p. 16).

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

In almost all major economic projects women's needs and interests have been marginalized or ignored, with the result that their status has been lowered and the negative social impacts have been borne by them disproportionately (Stratigos and Hughes: 1987).

In the subsistence sector the division of labor has often been characterized as based on ideas of gender complementarity. While this construction acknowledges women's work as essential, it does not invariably mean that their contributions are given equal value. Studies have repeatedly shown that women spend more time, compared to men, producing food and that they expend more of their energy and provide most of the food that is consumed. Nonetheless, men's work in clearing and preparing land for planting, building fences and fishing or hunting is usually culturally perceived as balancing or exceeding women's contributions (Brown: 1987; Hogan: 1985).

Income from cash crops, such as coffee, copra or cocoa, is managed by men in the majority of societies, although there are many communities where this is not so. Local sales of garden produce at markets or roadside stalls are generally the preserve of women. In some areas, especially matrilineal societies where women have continuous rights in their clan land, cash income is perceived as belonging to the person who produced the goods for sale. In these areas women retain control over the money they make. The situation regarding control over family income is variable and changing, but as relatively few women earn cash and with some women giving their earnings to husbands or male kin, it is clear that very few women control household income. This has negative implications for credit schemes directed at women (Finch: 1992). As women's projects within the family or clan very often involve their giving all profits to men, they lack control over income. Also the women have little experience of financial management to draw on in planning repayments of loans.

Another characterization of the gender divisions in the economic sphere is that of women as the producers and men the transactors. This provides a useful analytical starting point as it develops the idea of complementarity but illustrates the way that men gain control over women's products and so benefit more in status and political power. This also illustrates how women have had such difficulties in accessing positions in the private sector, although this is changing slowly.

2.3 Agriculture

Key Gender Problems and Analysis of Factors that Cause Gender Problems

Agriculture in PNG is divided into two major sectors: village and non-village agriculture. Village agriculture provides subsistence and cash incomes for approximately 85% of the population. Non-village agriculture includes three sub-sectors: the largeholdings or estates; the smallholder land settlement schemes; and urban horticulture.

All PNG societies mark gender differences strongly and in distinctive ways varying between cultures. In agriculture the gender differences significantly structure the access to resources, divisions of labor, and returns to labor in the form of consumption patterns and income shares.

To summarize significant aspects of gender it is useful to divide PNG agricultural systems into three broad agro-ecological regions: the highlands (>1200 m), the mid-altitude zone (600-1200 m), and the lowlands (0-600 m). Overleaf are case summaries of lowlands, mid altitude and highlands time use allocations. These case studies show both sexes contributing substantial labor inputs to the production of cash crops for income, with men's contribution probably greatest in the case of highland coffee and most equitable with women's time use in the lowlands regions. However, in terms of rights of ownership to such long-lived tree crops and of rights to benefit from cash crop income, it appears generally to be the case that women are disadvantaged.

Market Trading

Marketplace trade occurs throughout PNG and its significance varies largely in relation to urban demand and access. By 1993 the annual value of such trade was estimated at K300 million. Generally women dominate food crop marketing with the main exceptions being some markets in Port Moresby, the management of long distance trade in products such as sweet potato (from the highlands to coastal towns) and in some cases betel nut. While participation rates for women in market trading are high, market incomes and cash returns are usually relatively low.

Nonvillage Agriculture

Agriculture outside of village-based systems on customary land takes three major forms: estates or largeholdings; smallholder land settlement schemes; and urban horticulture. The estate or largeholder sector in PNG agriculture produces a range of export crops (coffee, cocoa, coconuts, oil palm, tea, rubber, and, until 1989, cardamom), as well as livestock, sugar and stockfeed for the internal market. In 1985 it included over 800 largeholdings, employed 42,443 citizens, and land use involved over 386,000 hectares. While women are generally invisible in both the ownership and management of estates, their appearance in employment figures is also minimal. In 1982 women were only 8% of the estate work force, and 4% of the agricultural wage workforce. In both cases substantially less than their overall 13% in national wage employment. The invisibility of women in the official employment picture of the estate sector seriously underestimates their actual contribution.

Originally the coastal plantations of coconuts and cocoa used primarily male migrant laborers. There is little or no information about the use of women workers. The situation is similar for the oil palm estates where the only study shows women working unofficially as assistants to their husbands employed as official laborers. In the case of the single sugar-producing estate no gender information is available on the regularly employed labor force but a substantial proportion of the more than 800 workers taken on for casual seasonal work in the 1980s were women.

Smallholder land settlement schemes have been a significant part of government policy to encourage cash cropping since the 1950s. Nakikus' (1985) review of the impact of such settlements on women in 1984 is still the best overall view as regards land tenure, income, nutrition, and the general failure of planners to take gender into consideration.

By 1990, some 15 % of PNG's population were living in urban areas. Surveys in the mid 1970s indicated that just over 40 % of urban households produced some of their own food. Most surveys in the 1970s described women as the major contributors to this agricultural subsector, supplying inputs of about two to five hours per week, with much smaller inputs by men. A 1981 survey in Moresby showed major variation in gender contributions by suburb and it was suggested that this variation was related to variation in women's place in the urban work force. Recent surveys in the early 1990s have shown substantial differences between suburbs in Port Moresby in horticultural inputs, from 7 to 22 hours per week, with women's contribution at about 57 %.

2.4 Fisheries

Key Gender Problems

In many parts of PNG, especially in coastal regions, women fish regularly and provide substantial amounts of fish for family consumption. The Women in Fisheries Development program was initiated in 1989, supported by overseas aid funding. Its aims are both nutritional and economic and the target beneficiaries, women, children and youth in villages, have consistently been identified as deprived in these aspects of their lives.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

The gender problems encountered in this program typify the inadequacies of many similar agricultural development projects. The South Pacific Commission initially supported the Women in Fisheries Project in 1989 however funding was withdrawn in 1994. By then 800 women had been trained and a very small seeding fund established. The funding could not sustain the infrastructure required to maintain the momentum established during the training and the village-based leaders were left unsupported. Failure was attributed to lack of motivation at village level, lack of funds, expectation of payment by the newly-trained leaders (rather than the self-help ideal proposed) and the influx of cheaper protein sources such as lamb flaps and tinned fish.

A new management plan was drawn up in 1996 but as yet no evaluation of this has been produced. (Five-Year Management Plan for Women in Fisheries Development Program in Papua New Guinea 1996-2000, National Fisheries Authority.)

2.5 Forestry

Key Gender Problems

Forestry and logging are, like mining, dominated by foreign companies and expatriate men mostly hold the managerial positions. Although there have been suggestions that locally operated portable sawmills could involve women in small-scale businesses, there have been no recorded cases of women working on these village-based projects.

The economic impacts upon women are similar to those in mining. The areas of land clear felled are often useless for agriculture, which result in women having to work gardens in distant locations on poorer soil. Environmental degradation associated with logging means that women's work is increased, hunting areas are devastated so protein intake declines and dependency on bought food increases.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

The most profitable operations are highly mechanized and the industry therefore employs local unskilled men for very short periods. There are few positions available for women. With no training programs for women and the cultural attitudes of both Papua New Guinean people and expatriate men ensure that women are effectively excluded from employment in logging operations.

The forest is normally seen as a domain where men work: hunting, cutting trees for building materials or clearing forest for new gardens. These exclusive attitudes are compounded by the prevailing view that operating machinery is a male skill.

The economic benefits of employment and moneys paid to local people are mainly managed by men and women benefit indirectly at best. The only available case study, of the Wasab in Madang Province, (Sagir: 1994) demonstrates the ways in which women are excluded from decision-making, have no control over the contracts made between men and logging companies and are not experiencing any economic or social benefits from this type of economic development.

No mention is made of the role of women in forest management in the latest publication form the PNG National Research Institute: The Political Economy of Forest Management in PNG (1997). There is a need for a more gendered analysis in research in the forestry sector.

2.6 Mining

Key Gender Problems

The situation of women in the mining sector in many respects exemplifies the ways in which economic development strategies have not taken the specific social and cultural situations of women into account and have not implemented policies that ensure that women benefit equally with men.

Given the economic importance of the minerals industry in PNG, a consideration of gender issues in this context is long overdue. At present the inclusion of gender and women as factors to be examined in Social Impact Assessments have not resulted in any significant changes in the way companies and governments respond to the findings or to the specific problems that emerge for women and families.

In 1990 the number of PNG men employed in mining and quarrying was 3,390. In comparison only 152 women were employed in this sector. Since that time many new mining projects have begun, notably the major gold mine on Lihir Island in New Ireland Province. Nevertheless, the ratio of men to women employed has remained about the same, at 96:4. In the case of Lihir Gold, the highest participation rate by women has so far been 8%, but this was during the construction phase when a large number of women were employed cleaning workers* quarters and in catering.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

Mining is a male-dominated and conservative industry in almost all countries. In the PNG context the prevailing attitudes of local men and the lack of qualified women compound this conservatism. The jobs available for women tend to be either secretarial/clerical or unskilled domestic jobs. So far no PNG women have been appointed or promoted to any senior managerial positions.

As most mining projects are located in previously undeveloped areas, local women are expected to continue to provide families with food and are discouraged by these expectations from seeking training or work.

For men the situation is different because there is often the need for large numbers of unskilled workers during the construction phase and government policies on local participation are generally interpreted by the expatriate employers and the local men as meaning participation by men.

The financial constraints on mining companies mean that in the early stages there is pressure to begin production so that expatriate men mostly fill the managerial and professional positions. As the industry has grown in PNG there has been a flow-on effect from one project to the next (e.g. from Bougainville to OKTedi to Misima to Lihir etc.) which has meant that gradually more of the skilled or senior positions are taken by PNG men. Be cause so few women have been trained on these mine sites, the nationals in senior or skilled jobs are almost exclusively men and when women who have experience move jobs, it is usually to a similar position, not one at a higher level.

Given the types of primary industries that are attractive to overseas investors and their relatively low workforce requirements, the implementation of equal opportunity policies would not in itself improve matters for women. Women would be seen as competing with their own menfolk and their participation would be at the expense of men's. Such gender competition would exacerbate antagonism between men and women and probably increase the Incidence of violence. Nonetheless it has become increasingly obvious over the past ten years that unless laws and policies that protect and affirm female participation are enforced (such as are set out in the Platform for Action: A Decade of Action for Women towards National Unity and Sustainability, 1995-2005) then the status of women will not improve.

2.7 Women and Credit

Key Gender Problems

Although there are some exceptions, such as the Wok Meri rural credit groups in the Highlands (see Sexton: 1986 and Warry: 1985), a major constraint to women's participation in small business projects has been their lack of access to credit and banking facilities.

Most women do not have control or ownership of land or other substantial resources which banks generally require as collateral for loans. In addition, problems of geographic access are now more acute for women in less populated areas as most financial agencies have been centralized to the larger centers.

In recent years a number of micro-credit schemes have been initiated by aid agencies, and women have been trained to take over management and educate participants in business practices. There are difficulties in the management and sustainability of these projects, particularly in more remote areas.

Credit programs face a number of constraints, including low and highly dispersed populations, inadequate infrastructure, the importance of the subsistence economy, and difficulties in achieving high repayment rates

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

Rural women have little experience of banking generally, and have low levels of education. This means mechanisms and procedures associated with credit facilities are not widely understood. The requirements for loans are complex and women may be unable to write submissions, set out business plans or put up collateral. Systems that operate in urban centers in other Third World countries are often not appropriate for PNG women who are, in many instances, unable to assert personal control over money they earn. The lack of secure banking facilities in rural areas militates against this even further.

Credit projects have had limited success largely because of problems with repayments. While there are training and information sessions for rural and urban women, these tend to be sporadic and very basic. The PNG Women's Credit Scheme, established through cooperation with ILO and UNIFEM in 1996, promises to deliver credit facilities to women, with market linkage and skills training backup.

Nevertheless a number of micro-credit schemes are now operating throughout PNG. Workshops have been conducted to educate women in the use of credit and in the management of loan applications and repayments, and government, NGO and international support for these activities has substantially increased. A more recent development has been the recognition that there needs to be greater coordination among different sectoral and agency initiatives in providing a supportive network for women. The Department of Home Affairs (1996 and 1997) has developed documentation of their major credit project including an Operations Manual. However anecdotal evidence suggests that there are several teething problems with the credit project particularly in terms of coordination at the provincial level as implementation has focused on the district level without adequate training.

2.8 Political Participation

Key Gender Problems

Women gained the right to vote in PNG elections at the same time as men and most exercise that right enthusiastically. This fundamental political equality is in many ways the only one that women have in PNG. In all other respects women are outside the political processes that affect the general population and they are confined to 'women only' spheres. The National Council of Women provides an umbrella organization for women's groups at village and district levels. While this has the potential for promoting women's interests at all levels of government in practice its influence is constrained by low levels of funding and many of its programs are supported by NGOs.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

The tradition of male representation of women's interests prevails at every level of government. As the lack of skills in public speaking and debating excluded women from village politics in the past, so the pattern continues whereby men are expected to be representatives of their clans or local groups. At the recent 1997 election only two women gained seats, one of them an expatriate and widow of a prominent PNG man, the other a woman from Milne Bay Province.

New reforms under the Organic Law on Provincial Governments redefine the roles and functions of provincial and local governments in ways that theoretically enable them to be more responsive to people's needs. The structure proposed allows for one female representative to be appointed to the Provincial Assembly. Given the barriers that exist against women, this is more likely to mean that women's political views will be assumed to be covered by this single representative and all other positions will be occupied by men.

Lack of political will to implement policies and to fund projects directly aimed at increasing women's participation in public life means that even when problems are defined and analyzed very little will be done.

2.9 Violence against Women

Key Gender Problems

Violence against women is common throughout PNG with some studies indicating that 70% of married women have been beaten by their husbands. In many areas, both urban and rural, intolerable levels of insecurity affect women's everyday lives. Their freedom of movement is restricted, they are not safe in their homes and they do not have confidence in legal protection or recourse to the law when they are victims of crime.

The problems of law and order in PNG have negative impacts on both men and women, but the fear of rape in many areas means that women are unable to travel, act independently or engage in activities that used to be normal aspects of everyday existence.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

Women are often not aware of their legal rights, and there is a genuine concern (O'Collins: 1997) that violence is becoming a normalized pattern of behavior. Many police consider that violence against women is justifiable if the woman has offended her husband or failed to attend to his needs. In some areas of the Highlands violence against women during tribal fighting in 1995-96 reached such a level that pack rape of women was considered to be a 'normal' feature of intervillage conflict (Toft: 1985 and 1986; Dinnen 1993)

Women's status is equal fn law. Most cases involving women as plaintiffs and accused are dealt at the village court level rather than in national courts. This means that custom usually prevails and in many instances effectively deprives women of their legal rights under national law. Studies of cases involving women reveal that they are often discriminated against in village courts. In cases involving marital disputes, adultery, domestic violence and desertion, women are usually dealt with much more harshly than men.

While there is some evidence that women are gradually more prepared to have recourse to litigation than in the past, men are much more litigious generally, and have greater knowledge of their rights, both under custom and national law.

The recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in 1991 have not been systematically implemented.

2.10 Health

Key Gender Problems

Key trends from Table 3 illustrate the extraordinarily high rate of infant mortality and extremely low life expectancy for men and women in PNG as compared to other countries in the region. These indicators illustrate that health is one of the most critical issues facing women and men in PNG.

PNG has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. This figure is not skewed because of better data collection in PNG, as it has been estimated that only one in 10 maternal deaths is reported. The direct causes of death are (in descending order) post partum hemorrhaging, puerperal sepsis, prolonged labor and anaemia. The high rate of mortality must be viewed not only as a problem reflecting the decline in health generally but also as a factor that places greater strain on women's psychological and physical well being.

In 1986, the life expectancy for women is estimated at 51.4 years for women and 52.2 for men, making it the lowest in the Pacific region (Gillett: 1991). In 1971 it was 41 for women and 40 years for men, so there has been a significant improvement over the intervening years. The improvement for women occurred in the late 1970s and has dropped in relation to male life expectancy in the last decade, increasing only one year since 1981. These figures are all estimates and in some respects unreliable.

However when better figures exist the picture they present is often worse for women.

Table 4 illustrates the excessively high maternal mortality rate that causes almost a third of the deaths of all women in PNG in the 1544 age group.

Given the very high maternal and infant mortality rates in the population it is clear that there is urgent need for implementation of primary health programs and improved service delivery regardless of the real incidence: of HIV infection.

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

While many of the major health problems, such as malaria and tuberculosis, affect people regardless of gender in PNG, as elsewhere in the world, women's reproductive health is a major indicator of gender differentiation. As 50% of the female population in 1990 was of childbearing age the problems in maternal health in PNG must be viewed as among the most serious issues in the country.

Poor maternal health is in large partly due to malaria and other common illnesses as well as poor nutrition and inadequate spacing between pregnancies. Death following self-induced abortion is undoubtedly common, although accurate figures are difficult to obtain.

Malaria is a major health problem in many areas of PNG and over the past few years it has spread to areas that were previously unaffected. Public health preventative programs have been designed and all provinces have excellent strategy plans but funding has been cut to the point where any systematic implementation is impossible. In those areas where malaria is endemic, eradication programs should be implemented during the early stages of any development project as incomers often lack any immunity, and constant malaria infection of workers creates high levels of absenteeism and inefficiency.

The incidence of tuberculosis is allegedly increasing in many parts of the country but the cuts in funding mean that in many places it is undiagnosed and untreated. Respiratory illnesses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality for males and females of all ages.

Poor nutrition, high maternal mortality, the very arduous workload and "the serious degree of violence against women" (UNICEF and GoPNG 1996:27) are the perceived reasons for the relatively low life expectancy for females. While questions about cause and effect remain problematic the lack of funding for improvement of women's health reflects a deep-seated reluctance on the part of government to privilege women in any program (even when they are demonstrably disadvantaged) or even responds to their gender-specific needs. In this area, as in violence against women, the issues that need to be dealt with and many of the strategies for doing so, have been identified. The lack of will to develop and implement policies that require funding is perhaps the major cause of women's health problems.

2.11 Education

Key Gender Problems

The illiteracy rates in PNG are high on a global average, however the gender disparity is even more severe. The rate of illiteracy among adult women is estimated around 60%.

More males than females are represented at every educational level. The primary school enrollments have increased over the last decade but are still low. In 1994 they stood at 67% for girls and 80% for boys (cf. 51% and 66% respectively in 1980). Secondary school (years 7-10) enrollments are very low for girls, with little improvement relative to boys over two decades. In 1994, the enrollment rate for girls of secondary school age was 17.4%, for boys 21.3%. Overall, only 40% of school-age girls attend school (Gannicoot and Avalos: 1994; Gibson 1996).

Analysis of Factors Which Cause Gender Problems

Tertiary education refers to all institutions above year 10. Women constitute only 30% of tertiary students and they are concentrated in the fields of nursing and teacher framing. Girls and women generally face many obstacles in gaining an education. In all major studies cultural factors have been found to be the major impediment to increasing the enrollment of females at all levels of education. Boarding facilities for females are often insecure and there have been numerous rapes of female students. Pregnancies occur at an unacceptably high rate and pregnant students are unable to continue their studies. There are few affirmative action quotas for girls and evidence suggests that these are not always implemented at the local level (Yeoman: 1985; Oliver 1987).




The low enrollment of women at all levels means that this is not likely to improve dramatically over the next decade. Illiterate women are unable to gain access to many of the informal education and training programs that exist. The discrepancy between male and female education levels creates a flow-on effect that impedes the participation of women economically and politically.

There are regional variations in the gender patterns of enrollment and retention rates at secondary level. These reflect differences in the historical experience of different regions. Those with strong mission education systems that promoted single sex education for girls, such as Milne Bay Province and Manus, have higher enrollments and retention rates for girls than other regions. Similarly data illustrates that literacy levels are lowest for women in the Highlands. Several NGOs have developed literacy courses for women in the Highlands and although there have been teething problems with the development of these programs by non-Melanesians (see Schoeffel: 1987), there are currently many successful projects running (see Chapman: 1996), especially through indigenous NGOs (Soondrawu: 1993).

Women in the Private Sector

There is very little information available on the role of women in the private sector, although it is acknowledged as an area that needs to be promoted. The Investments Promotions Authority (IPA) has been running a register of women in business for the past 3 years which is designed to maintain listings of women and provide assistance to women entering business. The IPA has a national office in Port Moresby and an office in Lae to service the Momase region. It's aim is to have offices open in the Islands and the Highlands regions by 1999. These regional offices will maintain regional registers of women.

The IPA works closely with the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) which has a special loan facility for women to access small loans for businesses. Women accessing this loan facility have initiated their businesses in areas such as establishing bakeries, cocoa projects, trade stores, selling ice blocks and other retail ventures. The IPA and the SBDC also hold regular training courses for women in business and host business women's luncheons.

Highland Region Agriculture

Characteristically most agricultural systems in the highland region are based on sweet potato as the major crop. Overall, population densities are higher than in the other two regions and in core areas they are much higher. Agricultural intensity is also generally higher, with more plantings before land is fallowed and often shorter fallows. Coffee is the most important cash crop: it has a seasonal harvesting period between May and September when its labor requirements are greatest (Samana: 1986 and 1989). Work patterns in Enga Province in 1968 when cash crop plantings were still minimal, showed women working for 26 hours weekly in food production, compared to 16 hours by men, with a further 2 hours of cash crop production by each sex. Twenty years later similar figures were reported. In the neighboring Southern Highlands in 1979, Duna women spent 27 hours weekly in food production, the men 19 hours. In Simbu Province in 1972, women spent 22 hours weekly in food crop production, men 15 hours, and two hours each in coffee production (Hide, 1981). The most extreme case appears to be that of Wola women in the Southern Highlands who have been described as working between four and six times more hours in agricultural cultivation than men (Sillitoe: 1985).

Lowlands Agriculture

Time allocation studies have been undertaken in parts of the Western Province where sago is either a joint staple or the sole staple food, and where cash crops are of minimal importance. These studies indicate that the contributions of men and women to food production are generally similar in terms of overall activity time, though sharply different for specific food getting components. Thus in the Kubo area of Nomad, men spent 49 % of their total activity time, and women 58 % of theirs, in subsistence activities. More specifically, men spent 5.7 % in horticulture, 2 % in sago making and 19.6 % in hunting, fishing and collecting, while the respective figures for women were 7.6 % in horticulture, 15.8 % in sago making, and 12.1 % in gathering and fishing. The similar inputs by men and women in gardening and the much greater contribution by women in sago making are confirmed by Dwyer (1994).

Mid-altitude Region Agriculture

Very low population densities characterize the mid-altitude region, with low intensity agricultural systems based generally on one or more of such crops as sweet potato, taro, Chinese taro and sago. Subsistence food production usually involves a combination of agriculture, sago processing, and hunting and collecting, with only restricted cash cropping. Women's share of total time spent on food production ranges from a high of about 66 % (in Gulf and parts of Western province), to a low of 44% on the Papuan Plateau in the Southern Highlands. The overall average of several studies is about 60% (Bonnemere: 1992; Kelly: 1993).

Social and Economic Impacts of Mining

The problems for women in mining extend beyond that of limited employment opportunities. The social and economic impacts of mining and other extractive primary industries affect the lives of women in many negative ways. Briefly, these include:

* Women can lose land for gardening and so become dependent on the wage labor of husbands, thereby losing their basic source of control over the domestic economy.

* In some areas (Ok Tedi, Bougainville) environmental degradation has meant that garden productivity has been reduced, or water sources polluted with the effect of increasing women's subsistence workload.

* When mining developments occur, local men gain employment and women are expected to continue to produce food for the family without male support. This has far-reaching economic implications as it perpetuates the cultural role of women as food producers, encouraging men to perceive their earnings as discretionary income. The withdrawal of male labor from subsistence gardening reduces the standard of living formerly attained with complementary work relations. Men decrease their input and the areas of land they clear. This leads to shorter fallow periods as women cannot undertake clearing for new gardens, resulting in smaller gardens and reduced production. It also increases the burden on women as providers.

* When mining leases and compensation agreements are negotiated women are almost invariably excluded from decision-making and are rarely consulted independently. Compensation payments are usually paid to groups of men who represent their clans or communities and business opportunities that are associated with the mining project are usually given to males. Women have no direct access to the large cash compensation payments, rarely participate in decisions about business developments or investment of money and so benefit indirectly, if at all.

* In many places where mining development has occurred, men spend large amounts of money gained from wages, compensation payments and royalties on alcohol. [In one study, 70% of male employees spent between 50% and 80% of their fortnightly wages on beer]. In the first few years most of the weafth is spent by men on cars, trucks, boats, beer and consumer items. Alcohol consumption by men creates many problems for women. Most women perceive drunkenness to be a major factor in domestic viofence. In almost all social impact studies of mining projects an increase in marital conflict and violence has been observed. The combined effect of spending on vehicles and beer means that many road accidents occur in the first years of mining projects, often wiping out the major item of expenditure and occasioning death or injury to driver and passengers.

* The lack of employment opportunities for women and the presence of large numbers of wage-earning young men creates a situation where young women can be pressured to prostitute themselves to get money. In PNG prostitutes are stigmatized and often their own families and communities reject these women. They are at higher risk of infection from STDs and AIDS and are also more likely to be raped and assaulted.
Citizen Population Aged 10+ and Earning Money: By Type of
Employer and by Gender in the Urban Sector, 1980

 Number Percentage Females
 per 100
Type of Employer Male Female Male Female Males

Self-employed and Unpaid 3,946 2,373 4 14 60
Government 30,702 6,399 35 38 21
Statutory 7,788 1,498 9 919
Local Govt Council 1,859 99 2 119
Missions/Churches 1,584 464 2 3 30
Private Business 42,610 5,844 48 35 14
Int'l orgs/Embassies 107 24 0 0 22

Total 38,596 16,701 100 100 19

Source: 1980 Population Census.

Social Indicators, Selected South Pacific and Southeast
Asian Countries

 Infant Crude
 mortality birth rate
 rate (death (children
 Life per born per
 expectancy 1,000 1,000
Major South at birth births people
Pacific Countries (years) per year) per year)

Papua New Guinea 56 67 34
Fiji 72 23 24
Federated States
 of Micronesia 64 52 37
Kiribati 58 60 33
Marshall Islands 61 63 39
Solomon Islands 62 44 38
Tonga 68 21 30
Vanuatu 63 45 na
Western Samoa 65 25 32

Asian Countries

Indonesia 63 56 24
Thailand 69 36 19
Malaysia 71 13 28

 Total Crude
 fertility death rate
 rate (avge (deaths per
 no. children 1,000
Major South per woman in people
Pacific Countries a lifetime) per year)

Papua New Guinea 5.0 10.7
Fiji 3.2 4.6
Federated States
 of Micronesia 6.5 7.8
Kiribati 3.8 10.9
Marshall Islands 7.2 5.2
Solomon Islands 5.8 4.4
Tonga 5.2 6.3
Vanuatu 5.3 7.3
Western Samoa 4.7 6.8

Asian Countries

Indonesia 2.8 8.0
Thailand 2.1 6.0
Malaysia 3.5 5.0

 rate Adult
 (per literacy
Major South 1,000 rate
Pacific Countries children) (percent)

Papua New Guinea 72 52
Fiji 22 87
Federated States
 of Micronesia 52 65
Kiribati 65 93
Marshall Islands 63 91
Solomon Islands 38 22
Tonga 26 99
Vanuatu 45 64
Western Samoa 28 98

Asian Countries

Indonesia na 77
Thailand na 93
Malaysia na 78

* 1993 or most recent estimate.

Sources: Economic Insights (1996). The Economy of Papua
New Guinea 1996 Report. Canberra: AusAID p 109.

Causes of Death for Women Aged 15-44, 1985 (%)

Obstetric causes 29.0
Diseases of genital organs 6.0
Malaria 4.0
Pneumonia 2.0
Diseases of other parts of the digestive system 2.0
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue 2.0
Anaemia 1.0
Diseases of muscular/skeletal 1.0
Ill-defined intestinal infections 1.0
Fractures 1.0
All other causes, known and unknown 52.0

Source: Beatrice Avalos (1994). South Pacific: Women and
Development in Papua New Guinea, Canberra: Research School
of Pacific and Asian Studies.

Illiterate Population in PNG by Age Group and Sex (%)


Age Total Number %

20-24 167,389 43,660 26.1
15-24 379,906 106,832 28.1
15+ 1,083,133 437,905 40.4


Age Total Number %

20-24 159,792 66,638 41.7
15-24 343,433 134,433 39.1
15+ 997,211 544,278 54.6

Source: Beatrice Avalos (1994). South Pacific: Women and
Development in Papua New Guinea Canberra: Research School
of Pacific and Asian Studies.

In-School and Out-of-School Factors Affecting Female
Enrollment and Retention

Out-of-School Factors In-School Factors

Cultural/historical factors Age of entry
Geographical factors Supply of teaching materials/aids
Attitudes of parents School fees
Disillusionment with schooling; Sexual liaison and sexual harassment
-- restricted high school entry Quality of the learning Environment
-- limited employment prospects
Family labor requirements
Tribal fighting Environment

Source: Beatrice Avalos (1994). South Pacific: Women and
Development in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Research School
of Pacific and Asian Studies.
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Title Annotation:Gender Analysis in Papua New Guinea
Publication:Gender Analysis in Papua New Guinea
Date:Nov 1, 1998
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Next Article:Potential areas of intervention.

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