I DECIDED to write again on the above topic because I think women of Solomon Islands have been unfairly treated time and again by those who make decisions at the workplace.
I am referring to professional women who were victims of ill-informed decisions made by male-dominated committees, based on questionable assumptions.
This is an issue that women should not be silent about, but must speak out against because it, not only exacerbates gender inequality at the work place, but also brings injustice to women in this country.
Women in this country are still struggling to be recognised.
Each year during Women’s International Day, women continued to celebrate the achievements of women in different walks of life, while calling for greater equality and recognition.
The theme for this year’s Women International Day was “Make it Happen”.
It basically called for effective action towards advancing and recognising women accomplishments.
The theme gives the opportunity to those in decision-making roles to recognise women’s contributions at the workplace, community level, and country as a whole.
However, it is disheartening to note that women in Solomon Islands continue to be ignored for their contributions towards the development of the institutions they worked for or communities.
I acknowledge the recognition given to Solomon Islands women by development partners such as Australia and the United States in recent years.
But, there is still a need to recognise the contributions of notable and ordinary women in honor of the contributions they made at the different levels in our society.
In fact, women have made great strides in the past three decades in our country in terms of their education, careers, and contributions to their communities.
However, they are yet to enjoy being a true equal to their male counterparts in terms of their career aspirations, salary packages and entitlements, and in government representation.
According to the 2009 statistical data, the total population of females in Solomon Islands was 251,415, compared to males which stand at 264,455.
Of the total number of females, only 26,658 were employed compared to 53,536 males.
The above figures might slightly increase over the past six years, but it doesn’t matter, it is easy to notice the disparity between females and males who are in employment.
It would be interesting to get real statistics on women’s participation at the professional level in the various sectors in our country.
However, I believe there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that the number of women holding senior positions at the workplace in this country is obviously less compared to men.
This is evident in the number of women sitting in senior positions in the Government Ministries, in the Private Sector, and Statutory Organisations.
Women are yet to be recognised as equal assets to men in this country.
The fact that women continue to be under-represented in employment in Solomon Islands should be a concern to those in decision-making roles.
It is time that women are given the recognition they deserve.
May I take this opportunity to encourage fellow women of Solomon Islands to continue to make their way into greater positions and continue to strive for recognition until we are all on a level playing field with men.
By DR PATRICIA RODIE
- Dr Patricia is an academic and private consultant focusing on teacher quality improvement and the improvement of learning opportunities for students in our School system.