MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for East Makira Lily Maefai says there has been great progress in achieving gender equality in the Solomon Islands.
She highlighted this during the international women’s day celebration in Honiara early this week.
Ms. Maefai said the Solomon Islands government through the Ministry of Women mandated through its policy and legislation to ensure that women’s rights are realized across all sectors.
“By working closely with key ministries stakeholders and development partners we are proud to say that gender equality is now being mainstreamed into different sectors.
“Different sectors taking ownership in recognizing the existing gender gaps and ensuring they are being addressed through policy and legislation,” she said.
She added that it is encouraging to see today several ministries have their own gender and inclusion policies in place or being developed.
The newly-elected MP added that another achievement in terms of the policy is provincial governments developing their gender policies.
“Western, Guadalcanal, Malaita Provinces and Honiara have their own women and gender policies that help to address issues faced by women in the provinces and in Honiara.
“We are also pleased to hear other provinces namely Temotu, Choiseul, Central who are in the process of developing or endorsing similar policies for their provinces,’’ said Ms. Maefai.
She also highlighted that on presenting and responding to violence against women and girls the ministry is delighted with the recent launching of the Solomon Islands Domestic Violence Counseling guidelines.
“These guidelines will ensure that domestic violence counseling is safe and accessible for women and girls who required the service.”
She said the SAFENET referral network continues to be a priority in responding to violence against women and girls.
“Roll out for the SAFENET has now been done it four pilot provinces namely Isabel, Malaita, Temotu and Western Provinces with an aim to serve the women and girls down in the provinces.
“I’m also pleased to announce that the Family Protection Act that protects our women and families against violence is about to go through a strategic review beginning the end of this month,” said Ms. Maefai.
She also acknowledged the tremendous support of UN Women and the Australian government for supporting the ministry’s work on eliminating violence against women and girls.
By BRYAN LUVENA