Four gentlemen (L-R): Hon Satini Manuella (Minister of Health), Governor General, His Excellency Iakoba Taeia Italeli, Hon Maatia Toafa, (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Namoliki Sualiki (Minister of Home Affairs and Rural Development. The rest in the photo are the women who have been awarded Certificatse of Recognition for 2018 and Miss Pisi ‘Kana Festival 2018, Ms Emily Sam Panapa, at the end of the line

(Ms Afasene Iosefa)

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Maatia Toafa was the Chief Guest at the International Women’s Day in Tuvalu on Thursday last week. He also delivered the keynote address of the Day as in the followings:

‘With the presence of His Excellency the Governor General and Madam, I am very happy to say hello to all of you who your names have been introduced by the Master of Ceremony, and especially to all the invited guests who are with us today. Talofa everyone.”

“It’s a beautiful day to see you this morning, and a beautiful theme for the day, ‘Leave no woman behind, be bold for change.’ The International Women’s Day is a day that usually celebrates every year on March 8.”

In Tuvalu, Hon. Toafa said, the day marks government’s support on the issue of gender equality in all sector of life.”

The theme from UN Women for this year is Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists, Transforming Women’s Lives. According to Hon. Maatia Toafa, the theme depicts the importance of women on outer islands, and women on the capital, Funafuti, who are business leaders today, see from it as the progress on the issue of gender equality,

“The gender equality marks the number five goal in our SDG. The theme for the SDG number 5 is ‘Leave no women behind, be bold for change,” said Hon. Toafa.

The Gender Affairs Office celebrates the International Women’s Day by commending the contributions of the women to climate change, in times of disasters and developing plans to respond to those disasters.

issue 7 1
Women on the capital celebrating the International Women’s Day

“Women…you have very important duties in addressing such problems, to reforming and restructuring, caring for the elderlies and the sick. In our culture you are known as caretakers of our children. In a disability survey carried out in 2017, 78% of those taking care of disabled were women. Apart from that, you are still trying to equalize yourselves with men in the level of leadership both on outer islands and the whole nation as well.”

In 2015, the Minister said, the survey that was carried out by the Gender Affairs Department, after the TC Pam, saw that the majority of women did hear the announcement about the cyclone because they were staying indoors, while men were at work like fishing, gardening or working in the ‘pulaka’ pits.

Hon. Toafa went on to say that about 90% of women prepared the food and beddings, clothes before the family moved to take shelter in other houses. Men stayed back to look after the houses.

issue 7 2
Women are good in preparing food. This is the content of the table of food prepared by the women for refreshment during the celebration of the International Women’s Day

“Your duty to provide and manage the food is very important in times of disasters.

Your skills and knowledge as leaders within your families, in planning and preparedness during disasters and of course the dispute or complaints, will assist with the protection and encouraging of women and young girls to see and realize the needs of the disabled.”

Apart from that, the Minister said, women in leadership is not significant. As we all know there is only one female representative in Parliament and about 6% of women is represented in the Kaupule. So it is still difficult for you women to involve in leadership. You are encouraged to involve yourselves in decision making and for you to know how to limit the discrimination within our society.

“Today is your day with the young girls of Tuvalu, to enjoy and celebrate your free lbour to your families and your associations.

Today, Hon. Toafa said, also marks and encouraged the whole nation, sisters, young girls and any woman to follow and trust what they can do with their talents so they can win any of what they are hoping for.”

“Be bold for a change, is the theme for this year, so I encourage you women and the young girls as well to make yourselves as tools to build up a change for the benefit of Tuvalu in the future.

Have a wonderful and enjoyable celebrations of your day here in Tuvalu and throughout the world as well.”

Leave a Reply