BY GEORGING KEKEA
“DIVERSITY and balance add strength to decision making at the exercise of the power.”
These words were said by the Australia’s Defence Minister, Senator Hon Marise Payne during a luncheon for ‘Women in Leadership’ held yesterday in Honiara.
Minister Payne says there had been significant change of women now getting into leadership positions.
She says 10 years ago, things might have been different, adding that there is evidence that women are now making significant changes in leadership roles.
She says Australia has been supporting Solomon Islands but Solomon Islands also needs to work hard because things just do not happen.
Minister Payne says already women are making a difference especially even in the small circle they represent.
She made specific mention of women working in industries dominated by men and said it is no secret that women play a vital role in the society.
Minister Payne says Australia had been supporting women in leadership roles, as well as supporting women in economic empowerment and also assists Solomon Islands in issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
“In demonstration of that Australia has a 10-year $35 million commitment to gender equality in Solomon Islands. It is a programme designed to improve political, economic and social opportunities for women in the Pacific. Recognising that it is vital, women have leadership roles and bring their perspective to the key issues on what needs to change and how that change can happen.”
Payne says GBV restricts women’s ability to participate fully in leadership positions.
She says apart from the serious impact on physical and mental health, GBV has an ultimate impact on women’s community confidence, on leadership confidence and on self-confidence.
Payne’s visit to Solomon Islands coincides with a period of high engagement with Australia’s Pacific Partners through Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2018 (IPE 18). IPE 18 is an annual maritime activity that delivers on the promise of the 2016 Defence White Paper to deepen Australia’s engagement and partnership with regional security forces.
In Honiara, apart from the luncheon with ‘Women in Leadership’, Minister Payne had also visited the Forum Fisheries Agency and the RSIPF Maritime Headquarters including a visit to Skyline Memorial to commemorate the Battle of Guadalcanal as well as the laying of wreath at RAMSI’s memorial.
Payne had said that her visit to Solomon Islands is an opportunity to demonstrate the enduring commitment of Australia to Pacific countries.