Women’s leadership and equal participation – the key to positive change

More than 40 representatives from nine provinces, including the electoral, development and human rights sectors, came together to identify practical activities that can be undertaken to help strengthen women’s leadership and political representation in the country.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is partnering with the Solomon Islands Government and the Australian Government to host a four-day Exceptional Women Training and Planning Workshop.

The workshop took place June 14-19 in West Guadalcanal, providing practical tools and aiming to equip women leaders in the Solomons with the leadership skills and experience needed to contribute effectively to decision-making in public institutions. , private and multilateral.

More than 40 representatives from nine provinces, including the electoral, development and human rights sectors, came together to identify practical activities that can be undertaken to help strengthen women’s leadership and political representation in the country.

Convened by UNDP Solomon Islands, as part of its Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in the Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP), the ‘Exceptional Women’ initiative was launched in 2019 to advance women’s leadership and promote the gender equality in the Solomon Islands. Communities across the Solomon Islands were invited to nominate and hold elections to choose women valued for their contributions and achievements.

The names of 120 nominated women can be found in the Outstanding Women booklet which features the stories of 11 women who received the most votes in nine provinces, including the capital Honiara.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Ms. Taeasi Sanga, Deputy Chairperson and Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission, reiterated the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s gratitude to the Australian Government and UNDP for their continued support the strengthening of democratic processes and elections through the SCSIP project.

“Meaningful and active participation of all major segments of society in political processes is an indispensable aspect of a strong democracy,” Ms. Sanga said.

She said that “this initiative of exceptional women has propelled the Electoral Commission to new heights in terms of inclusiveness and equal participation in electoral processes”.

Ms Sally-Anne Vincent, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, welcomed participants to the workshop and underlined Australia’s strong commitment “to promoting the leadership role of women in Solomon Islands”.

Ms. Sally-Anne Vincent further highlighted the important role that exceptional women play as catalysts for social change.

“They are role models – a combination of strong family ties, taking initiative in their communities, cultural recognition and an unwavering sense of strength and self, are some of the many characteristics that continue to drive this social change.”

Echoing the same sentiment, UNDP Solomon Islands country manager Berdi Berdiyev said that “the equal involvement and participation of women and their recognition as leaders at community, provincial and national levels is central to UNDP support for the promotion of women’s leadership”.

Mr. Berdiyev further added, “This workshop not only provides an opportunity to build capacity, but also creates a platform to share challenges and potential solutions to help future women leaders take on leadership positions and of decision-making”.

Summarizing the collective work during the workshop, participants finalized the 2022 Outstanding Women Roadmap, its work plan and budget, taking into account available resources and logistical aspects.

With the 2030 Agenda as its guiding thread, UNDP works to advance women’s participation in civic and political life, their economic empowerment and their role as builders of peace and resilience.

Advancing women’s leadership and encouraging them to take on leadership roles is an integral part of SDG 5 along with target 5.5 to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

The Exceptional Women Training and Planning Workshop was organized by the Solomon Islands Electoral Cycle Strengthening Project (SECSIP). SECSIP is implemented by UNDP in the Solomon Islands and has received financial support from the Australian Government.

Source: UNDP

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Mara R. Wilmoth