The WEAVERS Research Report – The Women’s Rights Movement in Papua New Guinea: where we came from, where we are, and where we wish to go.:


The WEAVERS research report highlights the strengths, challenges and powerful role of the women’s rights movement in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The WEAVERS Research Report is the outcome of research conducted by Dr Orovu Sepoe (Lead Researcher) and a steering committee of diverse PNG women’s rights advocates and activists. It delves deep into the PNG women’s rights movement to understand “where we came from, where we are, and where we wish to go”. The research team engaged with 38 women’s rights organisations from five research sites across PNG.

Recognising the importance and transformative role that women’s rights organisations (WROs) and rights actors play in addressing gender inequality and women’s empowerment, the WEAVERS research set out to unravel and understand the ecosystem of rights actors, individuals, groups and networks that comprise the women’s movement in Papua New Guinea.

The underlying complexity of a post-colonial and ethno-linguistically diverse society such as PNG provided a solid premise for applying decolonial ways of thinking, articulating ideas and sharing experiences to understand the women’s movement.
The entire research process, shaped by consensual and collective decision-making, was in itself a manifestation of the need for stronger collaboration, for coming together as actors, activists, advocates, leaders, citizens – in spite of power hierarchies and diversity – to achieve our common goals of equality and empowerment, a better understanding of ourselves, plus more.

The research reveals a strong cultural precedent of women coming together in PNG – Meri Bung in Tok Pisin – providing a strong foundation for today’s women’s rights movement. Research findings also highlight that despite fragmentation, weak institutional linkages and funding constraints, women’s rights organisations share a “collective consciousness” – meaning they have a shared understanding of their values and purpose that informs their perseverance in speaking out and taking action to protect women’s rights.

The report found that the PNG women’s rights movement faces a critical challenge in obtaining adequate resourcing for its crucial work. In addition, the report recommends that women’s rights advocates recognise that it is their right to demand government accountability.

The research provides future directions and recommendations for the women’s rights movement, governments, supporters and partners. The full report is available in English, and the Executive Summary is available in Motu and Tok Pisin. The research was commissioned by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) and funded by the Australian Government through the PNGAus Partnership.

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Research Type(s)
Report – Not peer reviewed
Submitted by Liz Gill-Atkinson
April 22, 2024
Published in

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