HONOURABLE Jane Tozaka was a proud recipient of the 2014 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage award.
Mrs Tozaka received the award from Deputy Secretary of State, Ms Dennise at Lime Lounge, Commonwealth Street last Sunday.
The award was for her courage and leadership in advocating for good governance and women’s empowerment in the country.
She is currently the provincial member for North Vella La Vella and the only female that was voted in the Western Provincial election last September.
Mrs Tozaka she was surprised when she learned of her nomination.
“I feel that other Solomon Islanders are also worthy of this award,” she said.
The 2014 Women Courage award was the seventh held for Solomon Islands women.
Mrs Tozaka spent about 20 years in the public service which she described as challenging but fruitful.
“Being one of the very few female officers in managerial position at that time, i supervised and trained both female and male subordinates most of whom are now holding managerial positions.”
As a very young mother in the 1970s, she served as a volunteer and helped in the initial establishment of the YWCA administration, women and youth programs in a committee which she became a president for a number of years.
“We used to hold meetings fortnightly and would go on till late at night. I suppose that experience from then on gave me the first spirit of courage to pursue in helping people in need.”
She also had been appointed to serve in government’s important financial institutional boards such as DBSI, SINPF, and SI TELEKOM.
“I was very proud to have contributed on very important decisions made during my time on these boards.”
Her other involvements now are, a member and secretary for the Government House First Lady’s Committee chaired by Lady Grace Kabui, and chairperson for Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue Committee.
Mrs Tozaka explains her current position as a politician has not been easy especially when she is the only woman amongst 25 males.
“It is challenging and as the only woman amongst all male colleagues, I need a lot of courage to be able to withstand pressure.”
During her four months so far in the provincial politics, she has learned that one has to have boldness and courage to speak up on issues.
And one of the issues she has been advocating is ‘family issues, water and sanitation, food, security and human rights.
In the midst of great difficulty when she ran for the provincial election for North Vella in October last year, women of North Vella constituency were the courageous.
“This award is dedicated to them and their families,” she said.
She thanked the Secretary of State for choosing her this year, and said she was truly honoured to receive the award.
By TRIXIE CARTER