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Papua New Guinea & Bougainville

Women in Papua New Guinea & Bougainville experience some of the highest rates of violence in the world. In the Highlands region, almost 100% of women experience violence from a male partner. Types of violence faced by women can be extreme, including sexual violence and sorcery-related killings. Women who promote safety for other women put themselves at great risk.

Women politicians in Papua New Guinea promote women’s issues, including the safety of women. Yet Papua New Guinea is at the bottom of global rankings for women in politics. Only 2.7% of national parliamentarians in Papua New Guinea are women.

In some areas of Papua New Guinea, the development of industries such as mining and logging has been fast and damaging. East Pomio is one such region. Women in East Pomio were the traditional custodians of the land. Now, the expansion of the palm-oil industry has pushed women to the sidelines. The money and other benefits from logging development go overwhelmingly to men.

Papua New Guinea has also experienced high levels of conflict. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is still recovering from a civil war which caused social and economic disruption during the 1980s and 1990s. During the peace process, women played essential peacebuilding roles, highlighting the importance of women’s leadership.

IWDA works with local partners to promote power and security of women in Papua New Guinea & Bougainville.

A few achievements of IWDA and our partners last year

3,837

people attended forums on preventing family and sexual violence

732

women received family and sexual violence counselling

1

young woman in East Pomio led a protest against illegal land-grabbing

Women's human rights defenders
Women's human rights defenders in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Joanna Hayter

Papua New Guinea & Bougainville facts

7 million

population of Papua New Guinea & Bougainville

1975

independence from Australia

848

languages spoken

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