Supporting Women Entrepreneurs with Disabilities in Papua New Guinea

03.14.2022 | Guides & Tools | Hannah Rosenfeld, Jane Kim

PNG PWD Policy Brief

Executive Summary: 

The Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) updated the National Policy on Disability in 2015 to develop a plan of action to target issues facing Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in PNG. In 2013, the GoPNG ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), committing the nation to pursue the convention’s objectives which focus on protecting the rights of PWD and providing access to services and support to improve the quality of their lives. Despite national-level efforts to improve service provisions, many PWD continue to face social, psychological, and structural barriers that hinder them from creating dignified life experiences. 

PWD face significant barriers to formal employment opportunities and thus often turn to the informal sector for their livelihood. The PNG informal economy is valued at one-fifth of the country’s GDP and supports the livelihoods of approximately 80 percent of adults, many of whom are women, many of whom lack social protection and decent working conditions. While there is no comprehensive information available on the levels of PWD participation in PNG’s informal economy, conservative estimates indicate that the inclusion of PWD into the PNG economy can have a significant impact not only on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), but on economic development that promotes inclusion and empowerment. This policy brief looks more closely at the circumstances of women with disabilities (WWD), presenting business and human rights cases for enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for WWD and offers recommendations on how to drive sustainable and transformative economic development that promotes inclusion and empowerment.