Some of the women celebrate their achievement

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS (25 July 2023)—The inaugural Solomon Islands Senior Executive Women in Leadership Program has wrapped up in Honiara, “setting the pace” for women in leadership positions to excel in their areas of expertise.

The 4-day course, designed for Solomon Islands women in executive leadership roles, commenced on 5 July 2023 and concluded on 14 July 2023 with a networking event and award ceremony.

Course content included identifying and building potential external and internal support networks; conceptualising and managing risk; understanding financial reports and accounts; and developing a career personal action plan.

The Australian funded course was devised in partnership with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA), and the Institute of Solomon Islands Accountants (ISIA), with support from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

PSDI is an Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance program in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth, including reforms designed to enhance the economic empowerment of women.

At the award ceremony, attended by more than 80 people at Honiara’s Heritage Park Hotel, ISIA Chief Executive Officer Pamela Alamu said the course was a wonderful opportunity to build and empower women in leadership.

“It highlights an unusual but successful collaborative effort between different organisations sharing a common interest - to develop and grow the leadership skills of women,” Ms Alamu said. “What we see here today demonstrates the partner organisations’ shared vision of diversity and inclusivity to help strengthen women’s active participation in higher decision-making positions, whether it be operating their own businesses, in organisations, or on boards or committees.”

Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands Economic Counsellor Alison Purnell congratulated all graduates and said: “We are proud to have funded this program under the Solomon Islands-Australia Economic Partnership. Empowering women to participate in the economy not only makes good business sense, but also delivers great results for economic growth for Solomon Islands.”

Solomon Islands held the lowest share of women on boards according to PSDI’s 2021 Leadership Matters report on women in Pacific business leadership, with the proportion of women board directors (11%) and board chairs (0%) lower than the Pacific regional average and global average. The proportion of Solomon Islands women chief executive officers (CEO) (7%) was lower than the Pacific regional average, but surpassed the global average.  

ADB Solomon Islands Infrastructure Specialist Elmar Elbling said PSDI’s support for the Solomon Islands Senior Executive Women in Leadership Program was laudable.

“This training stands as the first of its kind, dedicated exclusively to empowering professional women who hold leadership roles in their respective organizations,” Mr Elbling said. “ADB takes great pride in spearheading this initiative.

"Due to high demand, a second cohort of Solomon Islands Senior Executive Women in Leadership Program participants is scheduled to commence in September 2023.

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