PACIFIC Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) wants to see more women participate in the formal economy in Solomon Islands.
This came after women have faced customary barriers to speak in public, participate in committee and political process and find it hard to get loans from banks to start business.
Vijaya Nagarajan, gender specialist of Asian Development Bank, recommended that:
- Firstly, there’s going to be an attempt made by banks, to try and make more loans to women and not trying to disregard them;
- Secondly, companies themselves trying to employ more women, and trying to train more women are also necessary; and
- Thirdly, women participating in debate about policy is also going to be important.
Ms Nagarajan said right now the form of credit assessment does not look at the kind of positive evidence on women entrepreneurship.
“Women don’t have a business history so they can’t get a loan.
“So having more inclusive data collected, and considered is going to be helpful,” she said.
Furthermore, Ms Nagarajan said women have huge contributions to make to the economy as part of the labour force, and also as entrepreneurs, who bring special skills and ability to see things differently and market a variety of products.
She said the government has made a lot of inroads into ensuring gender equality in the recent past
“One example is the Gender Equality Women Development Policy that is being adopted by the Solomon Islands government.
“And another example is the inclusion of a woman desk in different ministries,” she said.
Ms Nagarajan said the Central Bank has also been proactive in ensuring that loans are made available to women and financial inclusion includes women within all their programmes.
“I think the inclusion of the number of more banks into the economy has made it much more competitive the economy in the recent past.
“Two new banks have come in the market over the last couple of years and this has been of benefits for women,” she said.
The two new banks are Pan Oceanic Bank and Bred Bank.
By EDDIE OSIFELO