March 8—is International Women’s Day (IWD)—and it is celebrated throughout the world. For the Pacific, there is a lot more going for it this year and the March IWD should be a very good reason to celebrate our achievements. First, we’ve scored a position on the UN Women Executive Board. Representing the Solomon Islands on the board is Helen Beck, Counsellor at the Solomon Islands Embassy in New York. Her two-year appointment beginning January this year, is not only an achievement for the Solomon Islands but for the region as whole. She is the only Pacific islander on the executive board. The UN Women Executive Board is made up of representatives from 41 countries around the world, who serve on a rotating basis. The board members are selected on the following basis: 10 from Africa; 10 from Asia/Pacific; 4 from Eastern Europe; 6 from Latin America and the Caribbean; 5 from Western Europe; and 6 from contributing countries. The UN Women was established in 2010 as part of the UN reform—bringing together mandates and resources of four gender distinct part of the UN, namely: Division of the Advancement of Women, International Research and Training for the Advancement of Women Institute, Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women and UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). As Beck’s head in the Solomons, foreign secretary Joy Kere said when announcing her appointment, her ministry will work closely with the women’s ministry and the regional gender system to get the Pacific gender aspiration and challenges voiced in the executive board via its New York office.
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