BY BEN BILUA
THE 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women highlights that the progress of the Beijing Platform for Action on Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) has been outweighed by political, cultural and administrative challenges.
Some of the issues highlighted by panelists include; missing gaps between education systems and access to employment, lack of policy at both managerial level and political level and bulk of issues pointed back to culture and traditional stereotypes.
Sharing her thoughts on the theme ‘Solutions to end Violence Against Women and Girls Where We Play, Pray and Engage’ during the side event yesterday, Reverend Sereima Lomaloma said there is a need for balance of power within family.
She adds that community values need to speak the same language when it comes to gender issues.
Rev Lomaloma said social and cultural transformation of belief, values and attitude is key to achieve gender equality ambitions and that it is time redirect approaches toward aligning social and cultural norms towards gender issues.
She emphasised that religious organisations must participate in gender equality advocacy and awareness to bring change.
Lomaloma said most people in the Pacific are Christians and as such religious organisations can play a key role in transforming peoples’ attitude.
“All of us have a role to play,” she added.
Sharing his views, Gideon Bare from Papua New Guinea said an effective mechanism that streamline gender advocacy from regional level, national and community level is paramount to effectively implement community-based approaches towards gender issues.
He adds that more men should also join the crusade to eliminate gender issues and at the same time empower women in the pacific.
In her speech during the opening of the conference, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Hon Marise Payne delivers a strong message saying that empowering women is giving women life.
“If we ensure women’s economic security, we ensure their safety that promote their health and wellbeing that not only benefit to women and girls but their entire community,” she said.
Payne said redirecting visions and missions can address the structure and cultural barriers that exclude and discriminate against women.