The Voice of Women in Solomon Islands

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Media entrepreneur, Lynda Wate Seni.

BY GEORGE KOSUI – Banking & Finance Consultant and SME Expert@G Business Consultancy

I met Lynda Wate Seni (Lyn, name I prefer to call her) when I was engaged by the Pacific Media Association (PACMAS) to conduct a one-day workshop and training for the Directors of Solomon Islands Media Association (SOLMAS) at the Mendana Hotel in April 2014. The workshop cover topics on roles and responsibilities of Directors focusing on the roles and responsibilities of Directors, planning and budgeting, general financial management, human resources management and risk management.

It was at the workshop that we discussed few issues including those that relate to women in business, business management and the challenges facing women leaders in Solomon Islands. I realised that Lyn was somebody with the character and ambition to make things happen and inclination to seriously assist women. My discussion with Lyn does not stop there. We again met early this year 2015 when she called me to her office to discuss the compilation and completion of the Isles Media Investment Enterprise financial report for 2013/2014 when we discuss other areas of business interest to her. It was during our discussion that I suggested that she do a women newspaper, one that is dedicated to providing news, information and education to women and girls in Solomon Islands. Without saying much, she nodded her head in support of the idea and pledged to venture into this new and interesting area.

From then on I can sense that Lyn is a visionary. When asked about her vision, mission and dreams for venturing into the media industry and the unknown world of women, especially in a traditional society like Solomon Islands where women are always subjective to men, Lyn replied by saying that the paper intends to provide information and awareness on all issues that relate to the promotion and participation of women in social, economic, religious and developmental activities in Solomon Islands. It focuses on the promotion and furtherance of issues affecting women, especially those that relate to the building and exposing of roles they play in communities. This includes provision of advocacy and promotional services to assist furtherance of gender equality to rural and remote communities in Solomon Islands.

Lyn’s intention reflects her optimism, and pride in their achievements over the last few years in the media industry. The new initiative signals a direction for the future that will inspire all of those who are part of the organisation and assist to contribute to solving the challenges facing women in Solomon Islands and beyond.

“Our intention signals our commitment to engaging practice and to practically involve in implementing, managing a paper that assist local women, especially those in rural areas. This to her gives her pride and satisfaction,” said Lyn.

“We are committed to participate in building and generating more information and awareness which will in turn increase knowledge of the rights of women. Finally, we embrace the multiple forms of assistance to our women, especially the planned intention, initiatives and commitment of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government to develop policies that aim at assisting women in Solomon Islands. This includes (but not limited to) commercial organisations established to assist business women businesses or any new ventures, “social enterprise” organisations, as well as enterprise in the sense of “initiative” and hard work that contribute to assist in the furtherance, promotion and providing advocacy for women in the country.”

Lyn further stressed that Solomon Women Newspaper is committed to assist in building and supporting the role and status of women in Solomon Islands.

“We create and disseminate information relating to social, marketing, technical and other relevant information as well as provide a space for Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), Women Groups and related entities with advertisement and women related programs. We believe in creating new approaches and pathways to assist women to life-long participation in the family and consider promoting and informing the public of their roles as a possible pathway to life- long companionship, friendship and entrepreneurship and consider these to be critical to the role of women in the future. But with the diverse communities and challenges facing us in terms of the scattered nature of islands, diversify of cultures, and a country in which women are suppressed by cultural norms, it would require support to be able to implement our desired initiatives.”

Solomon Women Newspaper’s mission builds upon the aspiration to advance the important role that women play and inspire leadership and development in the context of its vision. Lyn acknowledge the roles that other women groups play to assist women and reiterate their commitment to engagement – with all of our communities groups, including business and industry, donors, stakeholders, government and most importantly – to promote and protect all women in Solomon Islands.

“In working towards this mission we are committed to a way of working together that recognises our place in the country. Our short history as a paper dedicated to women and our commitment to the continuous promotion of issues on women in the past were part of our present and our future. We aspire to act in ways that embody the benefits that will be derived from this intention.”

Lastly, Lyn would wish to thank women groups, advocators, supporters and friends for their support in the initial stages of the launching of their newspaper.

The Solomon Women Newspaper was launched early this year. The Newspaper is printed Wednesdays of each week. The Newspaper currently has around 20 agents nationwide and a network coverage membership of more than 2,000 that assist in its distribution in the country. This is a new initiative and it needs the support of women groups, government and all of us to promote and strengthen our supressed and excluded women, especially those in rural communities to realise their rights, potential and purpose for their existence in our communities and country. God bless our women, God bless Solomon Islands.