Meet my 28 year old gorgeous cousin Gwendolyn Ban. She graduated with her Doctorate in Philosophy (Agriculture) just two days ago on Friday the 01st of April 2016. It may have been April fool’s Day but this young woman graduated as the first female PHD graduate from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology and not to mention the youngest, and that is no joke! Talk about killing two birds with one stone!!
“First female PHD graduate from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology and not to mention the youngest”
I can just imagine the time, commitment and determination it took for her to achieve that. I doubt if I have any of that in me to go as far as she did. But I guess I’m mostly proud that Gwen did her best to be different from most young Papua New Guinea women and with dedication and focus she succeeded. I am not saying that all young Papua New Guinean women are the same; it’s just that it is mainly due to our culturally orientated society, not to mention having a highly apparent corrupt government, it is quite a challenge for a PNG woman to focus on educating herself to the highest possible level that she can.
At any rate, Gwen’s success is a great achievement especially if we are talking about women empowerment and gender equity in Papua New Guinea. Let me show you what I mean.
According to the UNDP 2015 Human Development Report for Papua New Guinea, PNG has a Gender Inequity Index (GII) value of 0.611, ranking it 140 out of 155 countries (member states of the United Nations) in the 2014 index. For instance, in PNG, 2.7 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women. There are 111 seats in the PNG Parliament, and only 3 are held by women. ONLY 3!! Moving on, the report continues to measure GII related indicators such as 7.6 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 14.5 percent of their male counterparts. Yes, 7.6 percent of women. And female participation in the labour market is 70.5 percent compared to 74.0 for men. Not to mention other critical issues such as domestic violence, adolescent birth rate being at 32.1 births per 1,000 women of ages 15- 19 and for every 100,000 live births, 220 women die from pregnancy related causes.
Whew!! I know, those are some sourly statistics, however, slowly but surely, we are working our way there. We need more Papua New Guinean Women to aspire to be like Gwen.
Congratulations Cuz!! And wishing you all the very best, the World is your Oyster!!