BY JOY OFASIA
AS the Solomon Islands celebrated the 2020 International Women’s Day, on Monday, March 9, this year the theme is ‘We Are Generation Equality, Access to Equal Rights.’
In her keynote speech to mark the 2020 Women’s International Day, Honourable for East Makira Constituency, Lilly Maefai said this year’s theme should trigger or drive actions that will create the gender-equality, Solomon Islanders deserve.
“Women and men in the Solomon Islands need to understand that ‘Equality’ means to value each other equally, respecting one another which leads to equal opportunities for all.
“We need to take into account the issues faced and challenges by women in the past, present and next generation to access equal rights for women and girls,” the woman politician said.
This year the theme is gender equality: in the media newsroom, government, sports, tourism, politics, environment, and development coverage, in the workplace, health and wealth. The government and its partners are confident that 2020 will be a year to be remembered as we try to make advances towards fairer conditions.
Honourable Lilly said that there is still a lot of work to be done in this area hence, passing on the baton to the next generation of women who will help to achieve this goal, with the support from the more experienced ones.
“Equality does not mean that men and women will become the same, neither does it mean that women will overpower men, but simply means that we all need to be valued equally, respecting one another which leads to equal opportunities for all.
She said that we need to recognize that both women and men need to be able to access basic needs and services entitled to all citizens of the Solomon Islands.
“We need to access basic rights such as access to affordable health care, clean water and sanitation, education including life skills, literacy, and financial literacy, women’s economic empowerment including markets, savings and employment, access to protection against sexual and gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination against women and to fairness in the workplace and institutions, including equal pay for the same work,” she said.
She said although there has been much progress to advance Gender Equality in the Solomon Islands, we also acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“It is up to you and me the women of Solomon Islands to ensure we do not give up, but join hands in solidarity to continue to pursue this goal.”
Hon Lilly Maefai later acknowledged all groups from the Government and Non-Government Organizations, churches, communities, and businesses for the commitment they have in advancing equality and women’s rights in the Solomon Islands.