Friday 9 December 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are working in partnership to deliver a programme aimed at assisting businesses to make the most of their female talents as a smart business strategy.
At a business breakfast hosted on Thursday at Mendana Hotel, over 40 participants from different businesses attend the event and were briefed on the initiative, its aims and objectives and the huge value it has in maximizing business productivity through improved performance of female employees, and likewise reducing the cost to businesses.
Amy Luistra, Program Manager of IFC East Asia Pacific – Gender, did a presentation on the initiative and led the discussions into issues affect women in workplace and highlighted the importance of fostering a supportive workplace for women, and why investing in women is a smart business.
Using the case study example of Soltuna at Noro (where sixty-three per cent of 1,845 workers are females), the study indicated that absenteeism was very high and that there were few women in leadership roles. However, with the empowerment programme and interventions undertaken by both IFC and Soltuna, the impact to date was phenomenal:
· Improved worker –management communication and better understanding amongst supervisors and workers (especially female workers);
· Improved tracking of absenteeism and less absenteeism from female staff;
· Financial literacy training; and
· More women engaged in male dominated trades, such as fork lifter drivers.
“We all acknowledge that women (mothers, sisters and grandmothers) play leading roles in various spectrums, within families, communities and also in work place. But with the right conducive environment in the work place, such as proper mechanisms and process in place, and appropriate resources made available to support women, female workers can thrive hence, contributing to overall business performance.
Absenteeism is a huge cost and recognizing the underlying factors why women in particular don’t turn up to work can assist businesses to strategize and develop intervention to overcome this problem.
At the breakfast it was announced that scholarships will be offered to interested women in leadership roles which will be managed by Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC).