Women’s Day marked across the Pacific - Solomon Star News

Women’s Day marked across the Pacific

08 March 2014

ACROSS the Pacific UN Women is joining International Women’s Day celebrations to acknowledge progress made for women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality in the region.

Yet, despite these gains, it is important to acknowledge that progress towards achieving gender equality has been slow, uneven, and in some cases women and girls face new and more complex challenges daily.

UN Women Solomon Islands will join International Women’s Day celebrations in Honiara on Tuesday 11 March, beginning with a parade from Honiara City Council at 7:50am and continuing with a programme of activities at the Art Gallery.

International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to reaffirm Pacific commitments to addressing gender equality together, as women and men, girls and boys, and to look to the future of women in development.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed, in 2000, as a tool to provide a focus for governments in their efforts to reduce poverty and achieve development over the following 15 years through to 2015. As 2015 is fast approaching, the time has come to look back over the progress and consider the lessons we have learnt from the last 14 years and make important decisions about the future of development in the Pacific Region.

While progress on MDGs in the Pacific is mixed in the region, there is an unprecedented commitment and momentum to promote gender equality. This is largely due to high level commitments from Pacific Island Forum leaders, increased availability of data, and the development of specific legislation and policies on gender equality and gender violence.

In the Pacific the mandate to dramatically increase efforts to promote gender equality, women’s right and women’s empowerment has never been clearer or more urgent.

“Pacific Island countries should be praised for their efforts towards progressing in the areas of the millennium development goals, particularly towards primary education and maternal health. However there is still a long way to go to achieve full gender equality in the region, with major gaps in women’s political participation, violence against women, and women’s access to economic opportunities. As we approach 2015, UN Women calls for accelerated efforts by governments towards MDG 3 – to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women – and at the same time concerted efforts need to be made towards the creation of a stand along goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post 2015 development framework,” says Elzira Sagynbaeva, Representative, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Fiji Multi-Country Office.

“If we act decisively with the knowledge that empowering women and girls and supporting their full participation, can help solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century, we will find lasting solutions to many of the problems we face in our world.  

“Major challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence against women and girls and insecurity will be addressed substantially,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women commented in a message for International Women's Day.

Mlambo-Ngcuka further emphasised that “no country in the world has achieved equality between women and men and girls and boys, and violations of the rights of women and girls are an outrage.  

“So let us build on the lessons learned and the knowledge that equality for women is progress for all and make greater and bolder progress as we work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and chart a new post-2015 development agenda”.

UN Women Solomon Islands is working with Honiara City Council, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children, and Family Affairs, as well as a number of organisations committed to achieving gender equality to coordinate commemorations to mark International Women’s Day.

A parade aiming to highlight and celebrate the achievements and potential of Solomon Island women will start at 7:50am Tuesday 11 March from Honiara City Council.

The parade will be followed by speeches, entertainment and information stalls at the Art Gallery.