|Member of the National Parliament|
|Preceded by||Oala Oala-Rarua|
|Succeeded by||Phillip Bouraga|
|Constituency||National Capital District Provincial|
|Preceded by||Tim Neville|
|Succeeded by||Tim Neville|
|Constituency||Milne Bay Provincial|
|Born||23 June 1940|
Misima, Territory of Papua
Born in Misima and one of 17 children, Abaijah began working in the Department of Public Health after leaving school, becoming a health education specialist. She also attended the University of London, where she obtained a diploma. She also played netball for the Papua New Guinea territory team, becoming vice-captain.
She contested the Central Provincial seat in the 1972 elections, becoming the first woman to win a seat in the House of Assembly, and only the second female legislator in Papua New Guinea after Doris Booth (who had been an appointed member in the 1950s). Abaijah was the only woman elected at that time. After being elected, she founded and led the Papua Besena movement, which agitated unsuccessfully for Papua to become a separate independent country instead of being linked with New Guinea as Papua New Guinea.
Asked by the Pacific Journalism Review for her opinion as to why there were (in 1995) no women in Papua New Guinea's Parliament, she stated:
"I maintain that I will not give money to somebody to vote for me. So I think that's one big reason. The men can get money, the men can bribe. We are finding it very difficult for women to go around bribing people. I think this is where the country is going nowhere because here there is a lot of bribes, there is a lot of corruption, something that women don't want in this country."
Her autobiography, A Thousand Coloured Dreams, was published in 1991.
- Brij V. Lal, Kate Fortune. The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. Published by University of Hawaii Press, 2000. pg 297.
- She'll drive a hard bargain for Papua Pacific Islands Monthly, May 1972, p35
- John D. Waiko, A Short History of Papua New Guinea, Oxford University Press, 2001 , ISBN 0-19-553164-7, p.182
- "The Reluctant Nation", Time magazine, September 29, 1975
- Papua New Guinea election results Devpolicy
- "Papua New Guinea: Under the Spell", Pacific Journalism Review, Vol 2, #1 (November 1995)
- Sepoe, Orovu, "To make a difference: Realities of women’s participation in Papua New Guinea politics", Development Bulletin, no. 59, 2002, page 40 (Electronic version Archived 2009-09-13 at the Wayback Machine)
- Josephine Abaijah and Eric Wright (1991) A Thousand Coloured Dreams: The Story of a Young Girl Growing up in Papua, Dellasta Pacific. Mount Waverley, Victoria, 1991