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  • Nigel Akuani

WOMEN Fundamental to Nation Building

Port Moresby: In a special commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022 with the theme #BreakTheBias, the Catholic Bishops Conference PNGSI, hosted a special ceremony on behalf of all women and girls throughout the country.

The reverent occasion dedicated to all females was held on Tuesday 8th March, at the CBC Headquarters in Waigani, and was honoured by the presence of five Bishops from the Dioceses namely Archbishop of Madang and President of CBC, Anton Bal; Archbishop of Mt Hagen, Douglas Young SVD; Bishop Otto Separy; Bishop Donald Lippert OFM Cap; and Bishop of Bougainville, Dariuz Kaluza. Also present were Priests, Religious Nuns, Lay personnel, media, and staff of CBC.

An opening prayer by Sr Lucy Dsouza, Family Life Secretary of CBC, officially commenced the program with Marie Mondu, Development Secretary of CBC, at the helm of hosting. A moment of sharing was given by several female and male staff to highlight the day’s prominence, women’s gradual rise in positions of authority and politics, before a final reflection was given by Bp Separy.

Bp Separy made significant emphasis on the dignity of a human person, and stressed that all females deserved respect as they were the fundamental blocks in nation-building. “Considering all that is happening in our country, we need to address very carefully the importance of human dignity especially for the women in our communities,” he said.

He described women today as competitors operating across different service sectors with the tenacity to challenge the culturally structured status-quo in place. “Women are now working in many different sectors, and the Church has prioritized them and is working closely in continuing to empower them,” he stated.

He further said, “Let us change our mentality of thinking by doing away with cultures that discriminate and undermine women and girls, that hinder collaboration and development of society. Let us start recognising their deeds and achievements, and putting into practice respect, equality and fairness for women.”

CBC Social Communications Officer, Abigail Seta, recalled her experience as a female living in a male-dominated society, and urged all women and men to work together with respect to forge change, break biases and pave the way for the next generations. “’Supportive, encouraging and pushing us to be better than we are’ are the types of male role models we need to associate with. The Church has also shown and given me a voice to speak, and from all my experiences I have been enabled to break the biases at home by speaking up and making sure that my voice is heard,” she asserted.

Charlotte Vada, Programs Manager of Caritas PNG, encouraged women and girls to always be ‘Teachable’, as it fostered in the pathway to more horizons of learning and to ultimately develop a strong personal character that could potentially transform society for the better.

In his description of Papua New Guinea being a patrilineal society, Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb, Social Communications Secretary, called on all women across to rise up, demand and command respect from their male counterparts.

IWD is celebrated globally every year on 8th March, and is focused at forging a gender equal world by celebrating women's achievements and increasing their recognition in society.

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