But PNG is still a developing country. According to the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom for Papua New Guinea, the vast majority of Papua New Guineans depend on subsistence hunting or agriculture - the informal economy in which women play that central role.
The formal economy, dominated by gold and copper mining, oil and natural gas like other such economies does not have a significant female representation.
Traditionally, women managed the wealth of the family; she cultivates the land to feed her family and support her husband in his contribution to the traditional obligations, measurable by his status in the village and community.
Many studies have shown women are more likely than men to work in informal employment. In South Asia, over 80 per cent of women in non-agriculture jobs are in informal employment, in sub-Sahara Africa, 74 per cent, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 54 per cent. In the rural areas, many women derive their livelihoods from small-scale farming, almost always informal.
In PNG, while the men have jobs in the formal sector, the majority of the female population are in the informal sector.
A typical Papua New Guinea woman will contribute to her family's income by selling her garden produce at roadside markets, or picking coffee cherries at a coffee plantation, harvesting palm oil and or picking tea at a plantation in the Highlands so that she can bring in extra income to her family - in turn contributing indirectly but importantly to the country's economic growth.
However, it is widely acknowledged when more women work in the formal economy, these economies grow. An increase in female labour force participation or a reduction in the gap between women's and men's labour force participation results in faster economic growth, according to the UN Women Report, Facts and Figures Empowerment.