Lynda Babao Is Not The First Lady of Papua New Guinea: Discover The Reason Why

Linda Babao, wife of Prime Minister Peter O'Neil. Photo credit: Twitter

Lynda Babao, wife of Prime Minister Peter O’Neil. Photo credit: Twitter

Is it officially right to address Lynda Babao, the wife of Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neil as First Lady?

First lady Michelle Obama sits with APEC spouses during the APEC Spousal Luncheon at Kualoa Ranch in Ka'a'awa, Hawaii, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

First lady Michelle Obama sits with APEC spouses during the APEC Spousal Luncheon at Kualoa Ranch in Ka’a’awa, Hawaii, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This question tends to pop up frequently in social and print media as well as in every day shy office whispers and acclaimed betelnut speeches on the city streets .  The EL explores the issue and establishes the reason why it is not right for Papua New Guineans to officially address wife of PNG prime ministers as first lady.

First and foremost, who is a First Lady?

To ensure that we get the definition correct, we visited the popular Wikipedia website.

First Lady definition according to Wikipedia is”

“An unofficial title used for wife or hostes of a male non-monarchical head of state or chief executive.

“Woman seen to be on top of her profession or art”

Several online sources  we checked also gave related definitions;

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com

2. dictionary.reference.com

3. http://www.free dictionary.com

4. dictionary.cambridge. org

So is it Right or Wrong to address a wife of a PNG prime minister as First Lady?

Prime Minister O’Neil and wife Lynda Babao. Photo credit: Antara Foto website

In so far as the above definitions state, it is not formally appropriate to address a wife of a PNG prime minister using the title First Lady.

Wikipedia clears the air out further;

“The title is NOT normally used for wife of a head of state government who is NOT also a head of state.

“It is sometimes employed for wife of a prime minister” which the site argues is an incorrect usage for the fact that  prime ministers do not precede the head of state.

What other countries apart from USA use the title First Lady?

There are other countries outside USA that also use the title First Lady. Link below gives a list of the countris and their first ladies. Unfortunately, Lynda Babao and PNG is not one of them.


New Zealand Case

New Zeland (NZ) presents a similar case to PNG. In NZ, the title First Lady is not used officially, but is often used in press colloquially to refer to a wife of the prime minister.

Out of respect, some Papua New Guineans including the most notable offices and their officers used the title.

For example in October, 22, 2014, government website http://www.pm.gov.pg published on it’s website a Media Released titled: ‘First Lady To Speaks At CURE Fundraising’.

Even the site PNG Tribe (png tribe. org) ran an article on December 3, 2014 titled ‘First Lady of Papua New Guinea Visits Montrose’.

THE DENVER POST ran an article on November 12, 2014 titled ‘Lynda Babao O’Neil, first lady of Papua New Guinean, Speaks At Denver’.

In closing:

Now that you got the fact right, use the right title for the wife of our curent prime minispter and those who will come in the future.

What is your opinion? Let us know by commenting below.


About EntrepreneurLink (16 Articles)
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19 Comments on Lynda Babao Is Not The First Lady of Papua New Guinea: Discover The Reason Why

  1. Golezanimo // August 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm // Reply

    Create a title that is definitely PNG like the titles to Logohu awards.


  2. The EntrepreneurLink // August 6, 2015 at 2:08 am // Reply

    Not a bad idea Golezanimo. Maybe we should start thinking about that


  3. Lynda Babao has actually done a lot of good work since O’Neil became Prime Minister. I may not agree with most of her husband’s ideas and methods of doing things, but this woman has gone out of her way to support the small but growing amount of educated women in PNG, the trials they face, education and health, and the things that matter to the people. The First Lady is just a title. Anybody who overlooks what a person does just to strip them of a title is not doing it because of its correct usage but probably because most people like being petty, jealous and just plain spiteful. Get a life PNG, we have high maternal mortality, high wildlife declines, environmental destruction, people dying of curable diseases, children in low standards of education and you all want to spend time debating a title? seriously?!


    • The EntrepreneurLink // August 10, 2015 at 9:27 pm // Reply

      Hi Talitha,
      Its wonderful to have you share your view with us here. We pay credit where it is due. Lynda has done good things for the country. However, that does not make her the first Lady of PNG. We have to get this right or be seen as a fool in front of other countries.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would agree with Talitha but the fact that, this discussion is not about the poor living standards or health and infrastructure development problems in the country as you have stated. This is simply about the title “First Lady”. This discussion is not about discriminating or criticising Linda for who she is or what she has given to the country but to highlight the way PNGeans over exaggerate with titles..
    It is too my surprise that all this is happening even as far as Denver. This is entirely ridiculous and embarrassing.


  5. why hung up on a name or a title. Mrs PM, First Lady, Boss Meri. why worry about what people will say internationally. people have given them titles for eons. so whats in a name if the good works she’s done speak for themselves….


  6. Do what’s right..


  7. Definition of First Lady in the encarta dictionary : Government Leader’s partner: the wife or hostess of a high government official, especially of a country’s leader.

    So I think the media is addressing her right.


  8. Since we’ve adopted The Westminster system from the British. Why don’t we just adopt British nobility, which formally is “Lady” the female counterpart to higher ranks in society… Lady Lynda Babao-O’Neil


  9. This is just some simple fact but important thing to note is on how to address important person correctly. This has nothing to do with all the good works. The Title ‘First Lady’ belongs to countries that do not come under a Kingdom like a King or a Queen but is ruled by a President! Only those countries with their high government officials their wives are entitled to that title of being ‘First Lady’.


  10. I wouldn’t really bet on Wikipedia. Sources are provided from very different ideas/ideologies . It is not an assured referencing site for very concrete arguments, what I mean is anyone can publish anything here. I would have loved something more accurate from a reputable source. But I also Agree with this statement.


  11. Does it really make sense wasting our time discussing petty issues, while we have real pressing issues that needs our collective effort to address…


  12. Wikipedia is not classed as a legit website as it xan be easily manipulated. even universities don’t allow it. Something to keep in mind you do another piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Alrighty why is this even a thing? First of all; wikipedia is not a reliable source. It’s edited by regular people and anyone can write whatever they want and second of all; As I understand it; The term “First Lady” originates from America there for technically that’s Michelle Obama’s title. Now of course there are other nations where they use a similar term in English or otherwise.

    In all honesty, we could all use a little bit of originality here. Our first Prime Minister is referred to as the Grand Cheif, very original and very PNG. I bet he’s fully proud of the title.

    In the same respect, Mrs O’Neil deserves a title that’s very Original and also very PNG. I mean she is the wife of our current Cheif.

    A title isnt just a title. It loses its significance if you just say it, just because you can. If you have a title that’s truely yours, then you’re definitely gonna rep it hardcore. Look at Michelle Obama, she’s owning her title.


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