December 2015

Anitua Represents PNG Resources Sector at Gender Parity Symposium

Anitua’s Elimination of Violence Against Women program manager, Dr Linda Van Leeuwen, was invited to speak on the topic of ‘Gender Violence as a Barrier to Gender Parity in the PNG Resources Sector’ at a recent symposium in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane. The key messages she presented on behalf of Anitua included:

  • Gender violence can make it difficult for women to enter the workforce as well as succeed at work and be promoted to senior levels. This in turn makes it difficult for businesses to achieve their gender parity goals.
  • Gender violence is a workplace safety issue as it can negatively impact a person’s ability to safely carry out physical tasks (e.g. operating heavy equipment) as well as mental tasks (e.g. decision making) thus putting the victim and even their co-workers at risk.
  • Gender violence is costing PNG businesses a LOT of money (a recent PNG study indicates the business cost of gender violence to equate to approximately 10% of payroll).
  • Solutions to help PNG businesses address gender violence, making workplaces safer for women and more supportive, are now available through the PNG Business Coalition for Women

Dr Van Leeuwen says she was delighted with the number of business leaders she was able to discuss the negative business impacts of gender violence with and was overwhelmed by their engagement and concern. “I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of business leaders out there – particularly of those PNG business operations that have their headquarters in Australia – that are genuinely unaware of the extent to which their PNG workforce is impacted by violence. However, once they hear the statistics and some of the stories, you can see that they want to take action not only from a business perspective but also from a humanitarian imperative.”

Dr Van Leeuwen said that the PNG business community, including the resources sector, appears to be turning a corner when it comes to the willingness to not only talk about the problem of gender violence but more importantly address it. “In addition to Anitua and NCS, we’re seeing a growing number of businesses with their own initiatives for their workforces and communities (e.g. New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, Digicel, Steamships, Oil Search).”

Dr Van Leeuwen in Canberra with Dr Eric Kwa (Secretary/CEO PNG Constitutional Law Reform Commission).  Other speakers from PNG at the Symposium included the Honorouble Malakai Tabar (Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology), Avia Koisen (Principal Koisen Lawyers), John Kaumi (Senior Provincial Magistrate) and sponsor ANZ PNG’s Mark Baker (CEO), Ann Steele (Head of HR), and Melissa Jojoga (Head of Legal & Compliance)