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Economics of Gender Equality in Papua New Guinea

Gender-based violence is rooted in a heritage of gender bias, lack of education, and cultural norms in  Papua New Guinea. Adherence to gender roles and the gender division of labour are cultural norms. Men are prompted to seek paid work, while women are responsible for unpaid labour, such as care labour. Religion, a cultural element, promotes the idea that men are superior to women. This triadic impasse, which finds itself deeply embedded in the past and present of PNG, needs to be abated for future of today’s youth.

Tackling gender-based violence requires a binary approach, involving both the home and the school system. This two-pronged plan of action will mitigate the culture of injustice and inequality that accepts GBV. Education can battle GBV through the tackling of prejudice.  Education has the power to decrease violence, stimulate economic growth, and foster tolerance. The power of education can be holstered through a multitude of initiatives, including the promotion of peaceful mediation techniques, and the illumination of discrimination’s harmful consequences on both the individual and on society as a whole.  In order to support the educational effort, it is imperative that the culture in which children are reared supports these educational initiatives. In order to escape from the cycle of gender inequity, cultural norms and attitudes must be altered. Campaigns should promotegender equity in the home, as home values will naturally spread throughout society.

Due to the overwhelming presence of discrimination, a common ground must be found to unite PNG in  the quest for GBV mitigation and gender equity. What do the citizens of PNG have in common? An economy of labourious employment and hardship. One of the most successful methods of promoting economic growth and development is through investing in a nation’s human capital. Gender equity equates decreased hardship with improved water and sanitation access in both urban and rural locations, and an increase in infrastructure, which will lead to an increase in the inflow of foreign revenue, an increase in internally generated revenue, a decrease in country debt, and, thus, an overall increase in quality of life. An improved market economy means that available labour will begin to flow out of the informal and subsistence economies into the formal market economy, generating taxes and increasing welfare assistance. 

Human capital is the measure of the economic value of an employee’s skill set; the quality of labour is improved via investment. An employee’s education, experience, and ability have an economic value for employers and for the economy as a whole (Investopedia.com). By including the female population in the human capital investment, the pool of the increased-in-value labour supply is doubled, expanding the availability and quality of PNG’s factors of production. This improves the availability and quality of  output; generating higher profits and wage rates, and increasing PNG’s attractiveness to foreign  investors. Gender equity yields an economic disincentive to engage in GBV. 

By Willie Doaemo

Works Cited:  Investopedia.com. Human Capital.Web. 29 Mar. 2015.  


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