Speaker introduces YWPG in Pacific Gender Forum meeting

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SPEAKER of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands has introduced to the Forum the Parliamentary women’s initiative, the “Young Women’s Parliamentary group (YWPG)” as another initiative to progress gender mainstreaming in Parliament.

He said this in his remarks on Tuesday, September 26, to open the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary partnerships Forum currently underway at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.

While he acknowledges the Parliamentary Outrigger workshop as a means for progressing out strategic object on gender mainstreaming he also spoke of the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group as another initiative in Parliament similar to the Parliamentary Outrigger.

On June 23 this year Parliament launched its Strategic Plan 2017-2021.

The Plan was done in consultation with the Parliamentary House Committee and one of the objectives of the plan is to ensure that gender will be mainstreamed throughout the activities of Parliament both in terms of the work of parliamentary staff and the work of members of Parliament.

“This is not an easy undertaking but I have no doubt that we can learn from your experiences and your parliaments especially through programs and events such as this,” he said.

Initiatives such as the outrigged workshop not only build staff confidence but also help broaden their knowledge on gender and parliament.

“Another important initiative in our parliament is the Young Women Parliamentary Group,” he said.

Formed in 2010, with the vision to create a space for young women to actively participate in leadership, the group has just over 40 registered members both in various sectors.

The group is engaged in a lot of activities but a notable one was in 2013 when the group presented a signed petition to Parliament on the issue of short bus routes in Honiara.

Parliament debated the issue, and established a Special Select Committee and one of the outcomes of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee was the recommendation for improved roads.

“I am delighted that the Young Women Parliamentary Group will be part of the forum and I hope they learn from vast knowledge and experiences that are present here in this room.”

“Partnerships are a two way process and so we too hope that you will take back something positive from our experience. “

Present at the opening were: Hon Manasseh Maelanga, Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands; Hon Freda Tuki Soriacomua, Minister of Women, Youth Children and Family Affairs; Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Australia; Hon Dr Jiko Luveni, Speaker of Parliament of Fiji; Hon Francesca Semoso, Deputy Speaker House of Representative, Autonomous Region of Bougainville; Hon Nikki Rattle, Speaker of Cook Islands Parliament; Ms Joy Burch, Speaker of CWP – ACT; Hon Ro Teimumu Kepa, Leader of the Opposition, Fiji Parliament ; Honourable Members of Parliament representing Pacific Parliaments including Australia and New Zealand; His Excellency Roderick Brazier, Australia High Commissioner to Solomon Islands; Ms Fiona Hoggart, First Secretary, Australia High Commission; Staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Canberra, Australia and Ms Fiona Way, Project Manager Pacific Women Parliamentary Partnership (PWPP).

The forum ends today.