Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 11:29 | SYDNEY
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Aus-PNG Network: Women in politics in PNG - Vagi Hemetsberger

In this special Women in Politics series for the Australia-PNG Network, the Lowy Institute's Jessica Collins sits down with prominent women from Papua New Guinea to discuss the deep-seated challenge of women’s political representation in Papua New Guinea in the lead-up to its national election.

In this second episode of the series, Jessica speaks with Vagi Hemetsberger, co-founder of the Seven Sisters Foundation, which aims to provide long-term support to women seeking office in Papua New Guinea. They discuss what help Papua New Guinean women need to get elected, and how issues such as money politics and security put them at a significant disadvantage.

Vagi argues that partnering is vital if women are to improve their political representation in Papua New Guinea. “We want our men and women to … be a part of the solution”, but, she adds, women’s civil groups and policymakers also need to work strategically and collaboratively, “because we’re stronger together”.

Join Jessica and Vagi as they take you through these issues and present ideas on how to change the nature of women’s political representation in Papua New Guinea.


Vagi Hemetsberger is co-founder of the Seven Sisters Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation supporting female leaders in Papua New Guinea. The Seven Sisters Foundation aims to improve equality for women through resource support, upskilling and advocacy.

Jessica Collins is a Research Fellow in the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute. Her research interests cover foreign aid and development policy in Pacific Island nations (particularly for Pacific women), Pacific migration, remittance policy, and Myanmar’s humanitarian and refugee challenges. Prior to joining the Institute, Jessica completed a PhD in Anthropology at the Queensland University of Technology. Jessica also holds a Master of Global Development from Griffith University. Her Honours research project, completed at the Queensland University of Technology, explored diasporic life for Samoans living in Brisbane, and her undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney focused on the anthropology of the Pacific.

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