GEWE Committee preparing to closely scrutinize Govt agencies to improve responses for women & girls
The Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) met yesterday to prepare for their first round of public hearings, which will be run from 24-26 May at Parliament Haus.
Chairman of the Committee, Governor Powes Parkop stated: “Our Committee will use our powers to hold Government agencies to account. We have to make sure in this term of Parliament that we use our oversight powers to demand better responses from Government agencies. We want to know what funds are being allocated, what activities are being implemented – and why the women and girls of our country are still not feeling any tangible change in their daily lives despite gender equality being a core priority for the country.”
"We want to know what funds are being allocated, what activities are being implemented – and why the women and girls of our country are still not feeling any tangible change in their daily lives despite gender equality being a core priority for the country" -- Governor Powes Parkop, Chair
The Committee met at Parliament Haus to go over their preparations for the next hearings. Day 1, on Wednesday 24 May, will start with testimony from a range of NGO representatives and women’s experts who will provide the Committee with insights from the field on the real life experiences of women and girls around the country. The second half of the day will then review the current GEWE institutions and policies that are supposed to be driving the GEWE agenda across the country.
Days 2 and 3 will focus on reviewing the Government’s efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV) and sorcery-accusation related violence (SARV). This discussion will build on the work of the Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV from the 10th Parliament.
Deputy Chair of the Committee, Governor Allan Bird, was very clear on his expectations of the hearings, stating: “I want us to be very focused on action. Officials need to come prepared to answer questions and explain why the Government is still failing to protect our women and girls and ensure they can safely enjoy their human rights. I’m tired of ‘talk-fests’ that don’t result in any changes. We are taking these hearings very seriously and will use them to drive change and hold public officials to account where they are failing to properly do their jobs and implement their mandates”.
"I’m tired of ‘talk-fests’ that don’t result in any changes. We are taking these hearings very seriously and will use them to drive change" -- Governor Allan Bird, Deputy Chairman
In addition to Chairman Parkop and Deputy Chairman Bird (East Sepik), the Committee has five other members: Governor Rufina Peter (Central Province); Hon. Ricky Morris (Alotau); Hon. Lohia Boe Samuel (Port Moresby North West); Hon. William Bando (Koroba Lake Kopiago); and Hon. Marsh Narewec, (Wau Waria).
The public hearings will be livestreamed on the Committee’s Facebook page as well as on the National Parliament’s committees platform. Members of the public are encouraged to watch the hearings and post their comments, to provide real-time feedback on issues. The public can also attend in person at the Pariament Haus.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been providing technical support to the new Parliamentary Committee on GEWE as part of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project which is funded by the Australian Government.