Over 100 women attended a celebration of women in leadership in Honiara, Friday.
Speakers at the lunch were Australian Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne and Solomon Islands Minister for Women and Family Affairs Freda Tuki Soriacumua.
Senator Payne shared her leadership journey with the assembled gathering of successful women from many different sectors.
“In my 21 years of experience in the Australian Parliament, I have learnt that diversity and balance add strength to decision-making,” she said.
“No nation can reach its potential unless it fully engages with the skills and talents and energy and ideals of the 50 per cent of the population that is female.”
Minister Soriacumua congratulated Senator Payne as Australia’s first female Minister for Defence.
“You are a very strong woman leader because you have more than 20 years of political experience, and you are also holding a portfolio which is always dominated by men,” she said.
“This will definitely motivate women in Solomon Islands and the Pacific region to aspire and excel to achieve higher leadership like you.”
Both ministers congratulated the recently elected MP Lanelle Tanangada, on making history by becoming the first woman to represent Gizo-Kolombangara Constituency.
“I hope you and Madam Minister will be joined by other women in future parliaments,” Senator Payne said.
Australia’s Minister for Defence visited the country to advance the strong defence and national security partnership between Australia and Solomon Islands.