Participants and officials pose for a group photo during the opening of the training.

Wednesday 05 July, Honiara - A 4-day course for Solomon Islands women in executive leadership roles has commenced in Honiara, providing participants with the skills needed to thrive in executive and senior management positions and drive board diversity.

The Solomon Islands Senior Executive Women in Leadership Program caters for women in senior business roles who want to deepen their knowledge of business operations, develop strong networks with other senior women, build confidence in areas including governance, and refresh their professional brand.

“I look forward to working with course participants to build their skills, increase their knowledge, and ultimately boost their career trajectories,” Lead Facilitator and Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Specialist Pauline Soaki said.

Course content includes 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 course also includes guest lectures from six Solomon Islands women in senior business leadership roles, including at Solomon Power; Solomon Airlines; and BSP Financial Group Solomon Islands.

The 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 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. 

“I want to thank the partners, ISIA, SICCI, and SIWIBA, for their inputs into this program, as part of developing the leadership capacity of women in Solomon Islands,” PSDI Solomon Islands Country Coordinator John Kanai Ta’amora said.

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

Bella Simiha, SolTuna Human Resources Manager and course participant, said: “I look forward to connecting with other senior women so we can network on issues of interest, and hear opinions and solutions to common issues. I am approaching this course with an open mind, hoping to learn and set up a good network for the future.”

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.  

“This is not surprising because, apart from cultural factors, there are very limited opportunities available to build and empower women in this space of leadership,” ISIA Chief Executive Officer and program guest speaker Pamela Alamu said. “This is what we want to change through this collaboration.

“We want to look at effective ways in which we can start developing women and empowering them so that they can be effective in the areas in which they serve.”


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