Government Urged to Focus on Gender Equality

National Council of Women Acting General Secretary Casper Fa’asala.

CIVIL society organizations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) partners in the country have recently attended a one-day Dialogue Forum in Honiara.

Gender equality was among some of the priority areas been discussed at the forum. The forum participants have called for action from the government and all corners of the society. They detailed how important gender equality policies and funds are vital in addressing gender gaps in Solomon Islands.

“A recent literature reviews found robust evidences that countries, which show greater gender equality in employment and in education, were likely to report higher rates of quality education, economic growth and human development.

“These evidences should pave the way for Solomon Islands’ public and private sector, including CSOs to take necessary actions in the designing and formulating gender responsive policies.

“The Solomon Islands Government must be conscious of this predicament and must focus its strategies on quality education and training that will boost investments, fuelling economic growth, creating adequately remunerative employment and propelling our country towards a high income economy,” according to the National Council of Women Acting General Secretary Casper Fa’asala.

The primary aim and objective of the Forum is mainly to help CSOs to discuss and make constructive contributions around Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; as well as to purposely attract more male champions on the field to support Women in the upcoming Provincial and National Elections for a Better Change and Better Solomon Islands.

Fa’asala demanded the existing national government, provincial government and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) to focus more on their gender perspective approaches.

“I call on the National and Provincial Government including CSOs and Church Faith Based Organizations, to ensure commitments are made towards gender equality that entails intentional measures to incorporate a gender perspective into planning and budgetary frameworks as well as concrete investments in addressing gender gaps in the country.

He said Solomon Islands is heading a narrow pathway to graduate from its current economic and social status, because there has been less budgetary allocations made to supporting women’s rural and urban development including lack of resources to supporting any tangible programmes that will meaningfully engage our growing youth population.

“Any national budget of a country is a powerful administrative and economic indicator and tool to correct injustices, inequalities and to build a fairer and better society that will progress Solomon Islands for all. I hope that this is a belief in the minds of our leaders when making budgets to meeting the needs of our people.

“The current National 2018 Budget will likely put less effort in the support of gender equality rather than more on other interests.

“I am sad that this 2018 Budget for Solomon Islands will not reflect the interest of the majority, because I know much of it will certainly go towards meeting MPs Terminal Grants at the end of their term this year, and the rest will go towards the Constituency Development Fund, which will be used mainly to secure Votes during the 2019 National General Elections,” Fa’asala added.

Meanwhile, expressing their deep concern about how government can strengthen their action plans on issues related to violence against women, girls and children in the country.

“I strongly call on the government to take firm action to include strengthening of our laws to deal with violence and abuse against women and children. We will be ruthless against those who ill-treat women and girls if our laws are not strengthened and enforced by the responsible authorities. The crimes being committed against girls and women have to be halted,” Casper Fa’asala said.