Women and gender issues have received increasing attention, partly as a result of the United Nations International Year of Women (1975) and first Decade for Women (1976–85). New bureaucratic structures have been set up with an explicit mandate to bring women’s interests into the policy-making process. Feminist activists and scholars have scrutinized and contested the role played by various state institutions and development agencies in sustaining gender inequalities through their structures, procedures and policy outcomes. There has been debate among feminists about whether to engage with or disengage from the state, an institution viewed by many feminists as ‘a vehicle for social justice versus a protector of male interests’.
This discussion of women’s policy includes problems women of Papua New Guinea face in their attempts at feminist engagement as well as the engagement strategies used in promoting change within existing bureaucratic structures. The author argues that Papua New Guinea women can begin to construct a multifaceted approach to the state through a strong but varied women’s movement.
This is a chapter in the book edited by R.J. May (2009), ‘Policy Making and Implementation: Studies from Papua New Guinea’, Australian National University.