It’s a day celebrated on March 8 worldwide to acknowledge the gains women have made over the years and to bring to light the issues many still face.
In Honiara and other provincial centres today, women’s groups have organised street parades to mark the day.
The theme for this year’s event is: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world.”
It focuses on the leadership role played by women in light of the current health pandemic.
It celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.
According to UN Women, Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life drive progress for everyone.
Yet, women are still underrepresented in public life and decision-making, as revealed in the UN Secretary-General’s recent report.
Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 percent of national parliamentarians are women.
At the current rate of progress, it was highlighted that gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years.
Women are also at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, as scientists, doctors, and caregivers, yet they get paid 11 percent less globally than their male counterparts.
When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women.
And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change, and equality in all parts of the world.
This is why, this year’s International Women’s Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all.
The Generation Equality Forum, the most important convening for gender equality investment and actions, kicks off in Mexico City from 29 – 31 March and culminates in Paris in June 2021.
Women in Honiara are expected to use today’s event to highlight both successes and challenges women across the country during this current situation.
As a nation, Solomon Islands does not have a good track record in the way it treats its women.
Women here face considerable challenges in their daily lives.
But there were also many who made considerable achievements in their professional lives.
And we acknowledge all these women who are at the leadership level and are playing an important role in our current fight against COVID.
An increasing number of our young women to are in their mid-careers, climbing up the ladder in both the public and private sectors.
It is no denying the fact that women’s role and participation in nation-building is increasingly relevant in today’s society.
As former US secretary of state, John Kerry once said: No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.
This is why women's participation in all facets of development is critical to our shared goals of a prosperous and peaceful Solomon Islands.
We need to invest in the training and mentoring of women entrepreneurs so they can not only lift up their own families but also help grow the economy.
We need to invest in our girls’ education so that they can escape forced early marriage, break the cycle of poverty, and develop into community leaders and engaged citizens.
We still have a long way to go.
But when we start to recognise the important role that our women play in nation-building; we are on the right track.