7th March 2014
International Women’s Day Breakfast
The Australian High Commission hosted a breakfast this morning to celebrate International Women’s Day, which is recognised internationally on Saturday, 8 March.
Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Andrew Byrne said he was honoured to host such an important event.
“International Women’s Day reminds people of the importance of gender equity and celebrates the significant economic, political and social achievements of women in Solomon Islands and around the world. I’ve met many impressive Solomon Islands women since I arrived here. We in the Australian High Commission want to acknowledge and support women in leadership roles” said Mr Byrne.
As part of the celebrations, Mr Byrne awarded the inaugural Australian High Commissioner’s International Women’s Day Award.
“It’s important to highlight the efforts made by role models in Solomon Islands to celebrate their achievements and change attitudes towards gender roles” said Mr Byrne.
The Award will become an annual feature of International Women’s Day in Solomon Islands. It recognises pioneering Solomon Islands women who show leadership, innovation and courage, and whose achievements have opened the way for others.
Guests also heard from keynote speaker Mary-Edith Koete, President of the Church of Melanesia Mother’s Union, as well as a response from RAMSI Special Coordinator Justine Braithwaite. The Australian High Commission choir wrapped up the morning with their inspirational songs.
Australia Support Solomon Islands Women
Through Australia’s aid program, a dedicated gender program is being developed to engage with Pacific women and men to change harmful attitudes and behaviours towards women, improve women’s economic livelihoods and offer opportunities to strengthen women’s leadership in communities and also at a national level.
Australian support includes
• Supporting the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) to help increase women’s leadership and economic empowerment in Solomon Islands
• support to reduce violence in families, including the ‘Let’s Make our Families Safe’ Program, working with communities to change behaviours towards violence in the home
• A partnership with Live and Learn Environmental to empower women in the management of their natural resources
• Support to the Ministry of Health’s Gender Based Violence SAFENET initiative - a referral network of service providers for the survivors of violence working with hospitals and health clinics, Royal Solomon Island Police Force (law enforcement and prosecution), the Public Solicitor’s Office (legal advice), the Family Support Centre (counselling), and the Christian Care Centre (crisis accommodation). SAFENET has a toll free, 24 hour advice line for survivors of violence (phone number 132).
• Working with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development to ensure girls and boys have equal opportunities in education.