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Power Meri (ATOM Study Guide)

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Papua New Guinea is Australia's nearest neighbour, a place characterised by stunning but unforgiving landscape, immense cultural diversity – and a national passion for rugby league. According to human rights organisations, it is also one of the worst places in the world to be a woman.

Power Meri follows Papua New Guinea's first national womens rugby league team, the PNG Orchids, on their journey to the 2017 World Cup in Australia. Proud, strong and hopeful, the pioneering women in the PNG Orchids team have overcome more challenges than most to play their much-loved national sport. But after years at grassroots level, they have just three months to transform themselves into a competitive national team.

Power Meri takes audiences on a journey through rarely-seen corners of PNG and behind the scenes of womens sport. It follows the Orchids through selection trials, arduous training with a fly-in-fly-out Australian coaching mentor, and diverse personal struggles as they face the world champion Australian Jillaroos and compete at the World Cup.

But their mission is greater than winning. In a country with appalling rates of domestic violence, sport is one of the few arenas in which PNG women can show their strength. If they can perform like men on the rugby field, can they change attitudes about the treatment and status of women back home?

Curriculum Links:

Power Meri offers students an opportunity to:

  • critique and challenge assumptions and stereotypes;
  • consider the influence of sport on national and personal identity and on gender equality;
  • examine the roles, status and representations of women in modern day society;
  • weigh up the importance of winning vs participating;
  • consider the different ways people can demonstrate resilience;
  • evaluate the importance of community support to individuals and groups;
  • discuss the relative socioeconomic differences between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and the relationship between the two countries.

This study guide is suitable for secondary students at all year levels. It provides information and suggestions for learning activities in Health and Physical Education, English and Media. It may also be used as a supplementary text in the teaching of Civics and Citizenship and the development of Australian Curriculum general capabilities: Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding and Intercultural Understanding.

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