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Papua New Guinea women recognised for business achievements

Papua New Guinea

A number of Papua New Guinea women have been honoured for their work achievements and leadership skills, in a country where gender inequality is rife.

Key points:

  • Awards for outstanding women in business and leadership in 10th year
  • Women say they need greater representation in public life
  • Westpac awards recognise private, public and community sector achievement

The Westpac Outstanding Women awards, held in Port Moresby, have been running for 10 years in recognition of "quiet achievers" in the private, pubic and community sectors.

The organisers said the awards alumni was now more than 100 strong, and growing each year as ranks of professional women expand.

This year's overall winner and winner of the private sector award was Bosa Togs, the general manager of IT at Telikom PNG.

Ms Togs won the award after successfully campaigning for equal pay for women employed by Telikom.

In the past, she said, women were not only paid less for the same work, but did not qualify for other benefits because they were female.

Ms Togs took up the case of two female colleagues, both engineers and single mothers who were struggling to support their families.

She sought advice from women's groups and then minister for women, Dame Carol Kidu and the Ombudsman about whether there was gender discrimination in Telikom's employment policies. There was.

"From then on, that's when they did away with the different categories of pay and benefits," she said.

"Then staff were given packages so that it is not gender-related, it is based on merit. So that's how we got equal pay."

Ms Togs said while things had improved, the corporate environment for women was still difficult.

"But it's not that easy, especially in a technology-driven organisation, with the culture and the way people are here," she said.

"My former boss told me 'with women, we sympathise with you because you'll have to prove yourself twice', which is true.

"But Telikom has changed. And the new CEO is a man who looks at having a balance between men and women, so he gets women more involved."

More women needed in leadership roles: Togs

She said the one thing that would help the advancement of women most would be a wider recognition of women "for who they are".

"Women have something that men don't have, that sixth sense where we bring people together ... out ability to love, our ability to embrace, our ability to recognise that in other people and not compete.

"If we could have a few more women in leadership roles, I think there would be a lot of changes for the better."

Echoing those sentiments, the public sector award winner, gynaecologist Dr Lutty Amos said there needed to be more women in senior management roles in the public health and education sectors.

Dr Amos was the first female doctor in Southern Highlands Province and now leads women's health programs in the National Capital District.

She was recognised for starting PNG's first ever public campaign about cervical cancer and for leading efforts to implement cancer screening.

"I believe that cervical cancer is something that a woman shouldn't die from, and I'm passionate to see it end," she said.

"I'm involved in the HPV vaccination and the screening and the treatment, in policy. I'm involved in the whole spectrum."

The other award winners included the founder of one of PNG's biggest catering companies, Rita Jaima Paru, who won the entrepreneur award for creating Dial-a-Lunch catering in just two years.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-24/papua-new-guinea-women-recognised-for-business-achievements/7958590

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