Tuesday 7 March 2017
The Solomon Islands Professional Women’s Network (SIPNET) successfully marked the Internationally Women’s Day with a SICCI Business Breakfast on Tuesday morning.
Over a hundred men and women joined SIPNET – a record Breakfast attendance – at the Heritage Park Hotel celebrating the achievements of women in business and leadership as well as discussing some of the challenges women faced in leadership and in managerial roles.
SIPNET is an initiative by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). The network is driven by the SICCI/IFC Gender Programme which aims to empower and assist women in the Solomon Islands private sector.
The breakfast included remarks from Vsevolod Payevskiy, IFC Resident Representative, Solomon Islands and the Australian High Commissioner H.E Rod Brazier, who gave the introductory speech.
SICCI’s CEO Dennis Meone took lead in a panel discussion with guest speakers Lyn Fa’arodo, Head of Retail at the ANZ Bank, and Dr Allice Pollard, a champion in Women’s Savings Club and Board member of Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF).
Dr Pollard inspired the audience by sharing her story of growing up in the rural community before moving to Honiara at mid high school in her pursuant to become an influential figure she is today. “Women are important partners and can add value to the socio-economic development of the country,” she said.
“Sometime it requires a little bit of support, a little push to move forward or a lending hand to hold on to. We just need to give women the opportunities to shine.”
She repeatedly told her motivated audience on the values of work commitment.
Ms Fa’arodo who has more than 20 years of banking experience spoke about her experience as a senior manager and the balance of managing work expectations, culture and family life.
“At the workplace I lead a team, but when I get home, I am answerable to my other boss – my husband,” she said distinguishing the parallels of leadership, gender and the male superiority context of Solomon Islands culture.
Ms Fa’arodo acknowledged her supportive spouse and called for men to support their women in their working careers. This call was also reiterated by Dr Pollard acknowledging that women need the support of men in all spheres of life.
Among the breakfast attendants were members of the Honiara Market Vendors Association who received the International Women’s Day Award presented by the Australian High Commissioner.
The SIPNET Breakfast is the second breakfast event by the women’s networking group after it was launched in December 2016.
Members of SIPNET will join the International Women’s Day march in Honiara on Wednesday 8th March.
The network is intended to provide a forum for professional women of all backgrounds to share their stories, develop leadership skills, and build supportive professional relationships. The network will specifically support the personal development of women currently in professional and/or managerial roles.