OVER a hundred women from the private sector came together on Wednesday morning to mark the International Women’s Day at a SICCI Business Breakfast event held to celebrate the annual event.
The women were joined by stakeholders and representatives from the government, the donor community and civil society groups.
Wednesday’s breakfast is a continued success from its initiation last year under the gender program driven by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) with support from the Australian Government.
The event carried forward the national theme for the International Women’s Day “#Press for Progress# Towards Gender Equality”, and celebrated successful gender programs in the private sector through the Waka Mere Commitment to Action initiative.
Seventeen companies from the private sector are leading the Waka Mere program in increasing the share of women in leadership positions, build respectful and supportive workplaces for women and men, and promote opportunities for women in non-traditional jobs.
One of the components under the Waka Mere scope is the Solomon Islands Professional Women’s Network (SIPNET) that was launched in Honiara by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Julie Bishop in December 2016.
Coordinator of the SICCI-IFC Gender Program, Ruth Maetala while delivering the opening remarks said despite the achievements made so far, there still remains a lot to do.
“Hence, the IFC/SICCI gender program through the Waka Mere Commitment to Action is pressing towards closing some of these gaps,” Ms Maetala assured.
She said the SIPNET program has provided women in the private sector with the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other.
“Today we have 64 women registered as members of SIPNET. Through the network we are pleased to note that 18 women have been sponsored by IFC in 2017 to do the APTC Certificate IV in leadership and management.
“Of these women, six have received promotions since completing the course. Also, more than 70 women from our businesses and public agencies have benefited from the Effective Communications Seminars in 2017.”
The breakfast also presented a progress review of businesses who have pledged their commitment to adopt the Waka Mere program.
Other speakers at the event included the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, HE Rod Brazier and SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
SICCI CEO Dennis Meone applauded the positive commitment shown by the business community to support a gender-balanced private sector and praised the ongoing success of Waka Mere and SIPNET.