BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
THERE is an increasing number of reported violence on women and young women in Guadalcanal, Malaita and Western provinces, a report from Strongim Bisnis and Oxfam shows.
As a result, women from the selected locations in the research highlight that they are facing ‘lack of opportunities to participate in community’s social economic development’.
The report said women and young women across the three provinces have explicitly identified facing risks of violence.
It is in the course of undertaking unpaid care tasks which is a common form of punishment from husbands or partners for not completing their expectations.
To make it worse, many women interviewed in the research reveal that they are beaten by their husbands.
“Two have died in the past two years; one had a pot of hot rice thrown at her by her husband and this killed her. The other committed suicide because her husband was always belittling her,” the report shows.
Alcohol is also another aggravating factor, as highlighted by a young woman in Guadalcanal, saying “Sometimes our husbands drink and if we don’t please them, it causes trouble.”
Peculiarly, Guadalcanal women and young women, while identifying with the high risk of being attacked by a male member of the community going to and from the garden, also reveal that they are at risk of being attacked by Vele (local magic practitioners).
This threat is countered by women going to gardens in groups, the report says.
While women’s roles are expanding to encompass economic roles with paid work, women and young women in the three sites generally do not feel as though care duties are changing over time.
Some time and effort-saving resources have been secured at the household and community levels such as roads, tanks, water supply systems, solar power, wheelbarrows, kitchen and cleaning equipment and greater availability of transport.
Women’s increasing economic role has not been mirrored by an increase in support from men or new services or resources to ease their burden.
While most women want their husbands and sons to provide more support in this work, there was reluctance among some women to delegate work due to bride price and traditional gender roles.