Photo source: wcm.adb.org
Women are the backbone of this country’s economy, said Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Douglas Ete at a Women’s Innovation Expo in Honiara earlier this year.
“Women provide most of the labour force in subsistence agriculture in this country. They spend three times more than men in their food gardens, yet their work is not counted as productive in our national gross domestic product (GDP).”
George Herming, Communications Director for the Solomon Islands Government agrees “women are actively involved in other initiatives in the informal economy such as floral arts, cooking stalls, betel nut markets, fish and handicraft markets”
“Looking back over the years, I can see improvement in the status of women in Solomon Islands. Women are more visible, their voices are heard and they are making a significant contribution to our economy” Mr Herming said.
A recent World Bank report cited in the Solomon Islands Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 2013 Report stated that the annual turnover at the Honiara Central Market is estimated at between USD$10-16 million, with women responsible for about 90% of the marketing activity as bulk buyers from farmers and as retailers.
16 Days – 16 Stories of Gender Progress in the Pacific is an initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and The Pacific Community who are sharing stories of successful gender programs across the region and highlighting the regional policies that guide them. The Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration prioritizes on women’s economic empowerment and call for targeted support to women entrepreneurs in the formal and informal sectors, for example financial services, information and training and review legislation that limits women’s access to finance assets, land and productive resources. Related commitments include the Ministerial Communiques and Pacific Women’s Triennial Outcomes. The 2015 Pacific Regional MDGS Tracking Report Progress noted .Solomon Islands progress in this area as follows:-.Central Bank of Solomon Islands opened saving clubs for women in rural/outer island areas.