This paper draws on research undertaken in 2015 among coffee smallholders in Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, focusing specifically on some of the challenges faced by women coffee farmers in accessing financial services.
The research was a collaboration between the Department of Pacific Affairs (formerly the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program) at the Australian National University and the Coffee Industry Support Project of CARE International in Papua New Guinea.
Men’s control of coffee in Papua New Guinea is not only an artefact of colonial agricultural extension but also a consequence of gender norms and the system of land tenure that privileges men. Due to the historic association of coffee with ‘men’s business’, men tend to see coffee income as largely their own, despite women working in coffee production. This research with coffee smallholders showed that money was the most common reason for arguments between couples, with 37.8% of women and 38% of men saying this was what they argued over.
This major research study into sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea found that over the past 20 years, an average of 72 people per year are victims of sorcery accusation-related violence of which an average of 30 people per year have been killed. This is likely to significantly under-represent the true number of incidents, as this number only reflects those reported in the media and in court reports.
The paper describes the characteristics of the incidents, victms and perpetrators and records both the state and non-state responses to the violence.
This paper reports on research that found that increasing women’s savings or income does not necessarily lead to greater bargaining power within the household in Papua New Guinea. For women, the choice to escape violent relationships is constrained by gender norms and social customs such as bride price, custody of children and access to land, which limit their ability to live independently.
This short paper draws on research undertaken in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in 2015. It specifically explored the relationship
between women’s economic empowerment and violence
against women through in-depth qualitative interviews.
Interviewees included business women in the urban context
of Arawa (Kieta District) and rural women involved in informal
marketing and alluvial mining (Panguna District) and in
informal marketing and cocoa farming (Tinputz District).
The Bougainville Do No Harm research confirms that women do not always gain greater empowerment when they bring money into the household because their access to economic resources does not automatically give them control over those resources. Neither is violence towards them reduced. Bringing economic resources into the household may in fact heighten tensions over the expenditure of the resources.
Fiji and PNG were part of the World Bank’s qualitative study informing the World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development, for which local researchers organised focus groups to systematically record the factors that women and men in the study saw as helping to increase their feelings of empowerment.
This short paper details a pilot project using mobile phones to record and report data about accusations of witchcraft at funerals. The pilot is part of a growing body of work that uses mobile phones to collect and record data in environments that are otherwise difficult to reach, and for a wide range of purposes, including health, education, agriculture and development. The project also shares important features with conflict-mapping programs which use mobiles phones to track and map outbreaks of violence.
The Sorcery Act criminalised the use of sorcery for ‘evil purposes’. It was repealed in 2013 in the wake of several high profile and gruesome killings related to sorcery accusations, because of a widespread perception that the Act could make available a defence in cases involving violence toward suspected sorcerers. In addition to repealing the Act, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill introduced a penal measure extending the death penalty to sorcery-related murders.
This paper draws explicit links between witchcraft and sorcery practices and beliefs in Melanesia, and poor development outcomes. It notes four distinct categories of impact:
- The prevalence of these beliefs and practices mean that many are unwilling to engage fully in the cash economy or to exploit their particular skills or opportunities to the maximum, so as to avoid becoming a target of an attack by a sorcerer or witch motivated by envy.
This paper reports that in Tanah Papua (the western
half of the island of New Guinea, currently
comprising the Indonesian provinces of Papua and
West Papua), there was an HIV prevalence of 2.3% of survey participants, ranging from 0.6% in easily accessible coastal areas to 3% in the highlands. This makes the estimated HIV prevalence in Tanah Papua the second highest in the world outside Africa.
Numerous studies show obvious links between alcohol abuse and violence in Melanesia. In Papua New Guinea, alcohol is incorporated into sociality involving gift exchange and distribution practices associated with the ‘big man’ culture.
The 2015 Bougainville election saw a record number of women candidates, and a record number of women were elected. While one in three open constituencies had at least one woman candidate, overall the results for most women in the open seats were disappointing.
This paper reports on an in-depth study of women candidates in the 2015 Bougainville election: their profiles, motivations and campaign strategies. It analyses the impacts of three issues that emerged as common themes in discussions around women’s participation in political decision making in Bougainville:
Papuan perspectives on family planning have historically emphasised political concerns that reflect the tensions between the Indonesian state and indigenous rights – Papuans have questioned both the need for them to limit their population size and the propriety of the state to intervene in their reproductive matters. Family planning in Indonesia is said to have stagnated, and rates of contraceptive use in Tanah Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea, currently comprising the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua) are considerably lower than the Indonesian average.
This research project was aimed at synthesising and integrating various experiences and perspectives on poverty held both by poor women and men and by professional poverty experts. The project team began with a review of the professional knowledge contained in the vast multidisciplinary literature on gender and poverty, gender and development, and gender-sensitive measures of poverty.
This research shows that the young women who are part of the Young Women's Parliamentary Group are working to advance women’s participation and leadership in a range of ways in Solomon Islands. They are not exclusively or even primarily focused on increasing women’s representation within the National Parliament. The young women’s intuition that they can achieve more outside or on the edge of the political realm than within it, provides an interesting perspective on how formal politics is viewed by young women in Pacific nations.
The issue of sorcery and witchcraft-related accusations and violence in Papua New Guinea is receiving increasing attention domestically and internationally. A growing body of literature is also focusing on the issue, providing non-government organisations, donor agencies, and the Papua New Guinea government with an evidence base for addressing the problem in locally appropriate ways. Little of the literature, however, deliberates upon the perpetrators of these violent attacks.
The production and consumption of home-brew in the highlands is adding a dangerous ingredient to already volatile ethnic, gendered, and political conditions. While scholars have typically viewed alcohol consumption in the Pacific in the context of social status, increased cashflow, and gendered desires, the situation in West Papua alerts us to other issues: binge-drinking seems more related to poverty than to increased wealth; reflects exclusion from, rather than inclusion in, emerging economies; and is linked to indigenous ‘stress’, but rarely prestige.
This short paper reports on planned research in Fiji, the first country in the Pacific to pilot a measure of poverty at an individual level from a gender perspective.
In 2013, widespread publicity given to the deaths of two women accused of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea drew international and national attention to the problem of sorcery and witchcraft accusation–related violence. In the face of mounting pressure to take action, including the national haus krai protest calling for an end to violence against women, the government responded by repealing the Sorcery Act 1971 and creating a new provision in the Criminal Code Act 1974 (Chapter 262).