With the theme ‘Promise to fairness, zero discrimination’ International Women’s Day was celebrated in Honiara on Tuesday.
It also marks the launch of the country gender assessment report supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Minister for women, youth, children and family affairs – Honourable Freda Soriakomua Tuki, when officiating at the celebrations today said the 2016 theme is a strong reminder to all Solomon Islanders that despite the many effort done to combat discrimination against women and girls, they continue to experience it in many parts of the country.
Honourable Tuki said that as a country, Solomon Islands has made significant improvements in addressing some of the gender barriers experienced today.
She said the passage of the Family Protection Act 2014 is a demonstration of the efforts made to address domestic violence which is one of the major gender issues and concerns in the country.
She also highlighted that in 2014, the Government presented for the first time, its combined state report on the convention of the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women which stated that Solomon Islands has made progress in improving the status of women, and what areas it is yet to fully address.
Honourable Tuki also revealed that the ministry will soon launch both the revised Gender equality and women’s development – GEWD, and the Eliminating violence against women – EVAW policies towards the end of the second quarter.
She said despite the many gaps we have in addressing gender equality, the country must celebrate the gains we have achieved so far in advancing the status of women and girls in the country.
The Minister ended her speech by saying that everyone needs to work together to move forward to bring about meaningful change in Solomon Islands.
The findings of the report will be used to raise awareness and support ongoing gender mainstreaming efforts that have been initiated by the government. The ADB supported country and gender assessment report analyzes the progress of Solomon Islands towards achieving gender quality across different social, economic and political spheres.
“The government’s active involvement in the assessment process has been very encouraging. The challenge will be to keep the momentum going after the launch by widely disseminating the findings to ensure they are used for developing targeted interventions and monitoring progress toward gender equality goals,” said Sunhwa Lee, ADB Principal Social Development Specialist.
The report brings together existing gender-related research, data, and policy documents to present evidence-based information in ways that closely parallel the priorities of the national Gender Equality and Women’ s Development Policy. The aim of the assessment is to:
* Report on current disparities between women and men, girls and boys
* Identify gender related barriers in achieving development goals in each sector
* And reinforce on-going efforts toward gender equality, and recommend specific strategies to support the government’s implementation and monitoring of its gender equality commitments.
Hundreds of women and men took their time out from their daily routines to join in the celebrations on Tuesday.