Women Guaranteed Positions on MASI Board

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Members of Solomon Islands Media Association (MASI).

THE Media Association Solomon Islands (MASI) welcomes more women onto an expanded MASI board.

A proposal to expand the MASI board to include a representative from the Women In Media Solomon Islands (WIMSI) association was approved at a recent MASI board meeting and further endorsed at a MASI leaders forum last week.

The proposed change to the board structure will allow the President of the WIMSI Association to sit on the MASI Board. This will guarantee that women’s views are voiced on issues that affects them and the media.

The President of MASI, Mr Leni Dalavera, from SIBC, believes that the media have an important role in supporting gender based issues through raising awareness, education and advocating on behalf of those who struggle to get their voices heard, “the media industry has a major role to play in breaking down gender barriers and demonstrating to the public that women can be active leaders in business and the community more generally”.

Mr Dalavera also highlights that as part of the MASI constitution “MASI is committed to the promotion, observance and protection of human rights and gender equality is a human right”.

Ms Ender Lena Rence, President of WIMSI describes the announcement as a positive step for women in media and is very pleased that MASI is taking a leadership role to support women take on greater responsibilities in the workplace, “it is important to note that MASI recognizes the role women play in media, not only mainstream media, but women who work as freelance writers, whether they are in Ministries or work in public relations in the private sector; this decision will be a boost for all women in media”.

Ms Ender Rence believes that “this decision sets a great example for other industries and sectors across the country. The media industry has taken the lead to promote better engagement with women and setting the example that gender equality is important. I hope other industries follow this lead”.

WIMSI is a relatively new organisation that promotes the welfare and interests of women in media. Ms Ender Rence believes that this announcement will “make it easier for women to be heard and that their views will be taken into account. It will mean that our aim to get more women into media training, more women into journalism and ultimately more women into leadership positions are all critical steps to make gender equality in our industry much closer to being true “.

Ms Josephine Teakeni, Director of Vois Blong Mere Solomon and Vice President of MASI believes today’s announcement is an important but ongoing process that guarantees women’s views are able to be expressed and heard by the leaders of the media industry. “A very positive outcome is the continued work that many women in the media are doing to progress a very important social development issue – gender equity”.

In addition, Ms Teakeni said “I am so pleased that MASI is working to make sure that women’s views are guaranteed to be included in the decision-making process – every person in the Solomon Islands has a responsibility to understand that women deserve to have equal status as men in our society”.

Ms Teakeni thought further about what the impact having the WIMSI President sit on the MASI Board may have on other women, especially young women “guaranteeing a place on the MASI Board for the WIMSI President demonstrates to all women what can be achieved. It is what a women can accomplish and succeed when they are given the opportunities in an environment that is conducive and supportive”.

Ms Wate Seni, MASI executive, Vice President of WIMSI and as a women, manager/owner of a newspaper, she is leading change by example to show other women that they can succeed if they are committed to hard work – “Traditionally the media industry was a male dominated industry, but today we are seeing more women become journalists and they can now play an active role in leadership positions within their industry”.

MASI has consulted widely across the industry as it finalises its Corporate Plan for the next two years. Ms Wate Seni believes that it is an exciting time for women in the media industry “the industry is vibrant and young and I love to see women having a meaningful impression on the stories we write. Women have a lot of passion and ability and it is important that women make sure their voices are heard in shaping this industry”.

A new constitution for MASI is being drafted that will involve changes to the Board structure which will allow more diversity of views and expertise to be included on the Board.

Mr Dalavera concludes “in the past, the MASI Board was made-up exclusively from those people from within the media industry. The new Board structure, that was approved by the current MASI board, allows for the recruitment of persons with expertise from the legal, financial and business community along with the WIMSI President”.

“This will make the Board that much stronger and I welcome these changes and the opportunity to see these changes implemented over the coming months once they are endorsed by members”.