In commemoration of International Women’s Day on 8 March and Papua New Guinea’s National Women’s Day on 24 March 2021, ExxonMobil PNG staff led an initiative to host various activities to inspire the women and men working across the PNG LNG Project to confront bias.
Guided by this year’s theme “Choose to Challenge”, staff were encouraged to reflect upon what role they could play in ending gender-based bias to ensure a fair and equal workplace for all.
Sisa Kini, National Content Manager at ExxonMobil PNG, said International Women’s Day and National Women’s Day allow us not only to celebrate the achievements of women around us, but bring to the forefront gender inequality across Papua New Guinea.
“It also gives men an opportunity to get involved in the discussion on how together we can break down barriers and challenge gender bias in our homes, communities and the workplaces,” she said.
To inspire their fellow wanwoks, three ExxonMobil PNG male advocates shared their thoughts on this year’s theme “Choose to Challenge” and their commitment to ending gender-based bias.
Jeremiah Liliura, Environment Supervisor at ExxonMobil PNG
"The theme "Choose to Challenge" means to question and challenge my beliefs and opinions about women today. In particular, their role, status, and the unique contributions they bring to society, whether at work, at home or in our communities.
"I ask myself with conviction the following question: are my opinions and beliefs of women, their role and status in society influenced by "invisible barriers"?
"I choose to challenge gender biases at home because I treat my wife as an equal by respecting her role and contribution to the family. I cook, wash dishes, and do laundry at every opportunity. I know that I am demonstrating to my children that cooking and cleaning are things to be shared by men and women.
"When it comes to family members and relatives, I challenge their biases by doing cooking and cleaning during family gatherings. I do that because I want them to see that it is not just a women's role.
"The irony of this is hearing how my relatives say, "this guy "saveh wokim wok blo ol meri" (is doing a women's job) or "stap andanit long lek blo meri" (his woman controls him). This is the stigma in most male-dominated societies, particularly the contemporary culture I grew up in."
Stephen Marinjembi, Labs and Measurement Supervisor at ExxonMobil PNG
“I feel that ‘Choose to Challenge’ has a striking similarity with one of our credos in ExxonMobil PNG: "Safety Starts with Me". This means that my words and behaviours may have an impact on my female wanwoks. Moreover, the choices I make can reinforce or debilitate the culture and biases we have in society. One must admit that they have blind spots and gender biases is one of them.
"To challenge myself, I try to do more things like ironing, washing the dishes, and cooking. I am more considerate towards my wife, siblings, and daughter's views. I also encourage my wife, siblings, and my daughter to challenge the status quo.”
Seth Woruba, Commercial Advisor at ExxonMobil PNG
“The most powerful gift each of us has is the power of choice!
"To me, "Choose to Challenge" means to identify and define current challenges and be empowered to exercise this freedom of choice each time (regardless of the circumstances) to progress towards a positive and desired outcome.
"By acts of love and kindness, I try first to build confidence and self-respect of females around me. I also strive to provide them with an environment where they can freely express themselves. If any female has self-respect, confidence and continues to express herself freely, she can grow in strength to "Choose to Challenge" to make a better home, community, country and a better world.”
ExxonMobil PNG remains committed to helping end gender-based bias and celebrating diversity by investing in programs that help women make a difference through education, knowledge sharing and skills development.