March 2, 2016
Written by Louise Williams, Leanne Sedowski, and Tess Perselay of Nathan Associates Inc.
Papua New Guinea was ranked 156 out of 186 economies in the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) for 2013. The index measures access to the means to a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and standards of living. PNG remains weak in these areas even though its general economic growth, due mainly to the expansion of its extractive industries, has been robust over the past several years. The poor showing on the index is due in significant part to the harsh conditions women endure in PNG. Most women are less educated than men, face grave threats of physical and sexual violence, and rarely acquire real property, secure business loans, or achieve independence or prosperity. In addition, the politicized management of local public finances undermines women’s access to markets and services, particularly in rural areas.