New VSA volunteer for Torba Province

Respecting women in our society is not about making women superior over men but it is simply about treating women equally and fairly as men.

We live in a male-dominated planet where men have the sole authority and control in decision-makings and women are seen as inferior to their male-counterparts and are required to submit to men by obeying and abiding by the instructions given by the males.

Our Patriarchal society has also contributed tremendously to this gender issues making it very difficult for our children to embrace the concept of gender equity and gender equality. Children continue to perceive males as being superior to their female counterparts and the cycle continues from generation to generation. Men continue to suppress the women in society but disguised under the slogan that men are the head of the household and society at large.

Several factors are believed to hinder women from taking up leadership roles in society and being part of the decision-making process.

These barriers include, lack of female role models, cultural pressures, male-centric system, financial challenges, demands of dual roles and marginalization factor. It is untrue and condescending to claim that women are not competent to be leaders or to undertake male-oriented jobs because many women today have succeeded and surpassed this barriers shining in many organizations today in the world.

Dr. Natasha Khan, a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific (USP)said now females are dominating USP science classes, giving a very clear indication of women escalating and taking-over their male-counterparts in different fields of study.

There is nothing impossible for women which they cannot do which would justify the labelling that they are incompetent.

We cannot deny the fact that we also have some very well educated and prominent successful women today in our society. Thus, women should not be treated differently to men given that they are also human beings.

Vanuatu has joined other Pacific Island Countries in the region to celebrate the International Women’s Day on Wednesday this week.

The international Women’s Day was celebrated throughout the region and Vanuatu as a member of CEDAW joined other neighbouring countries to commemorate this day and celebrate the achievements so far in the areas of gender equity and gender equality.

A parade was held where keynote speeches were made this week.

Yet the alarming question is will we take a step forward to address all the inequalities women are facing?

Respect for women starts at home when you start to respect your own mother and sisters.

I was impressed and had to salute the male teachers at the Suva Grammar School in Fiji for organising a gathering for their female counterparts during the International Womens Day, a very respectful way of honouring women and saluting them for their service in the society.

Imagine if we start respecting women in all our societies and work place and never deny but stand on the truth to appreciate what they have done.

I strongly believed that the celebration we had in the Country is not only about commemorating but its about ‘putting a first step behind our second step’ to honour our mothers and sisters.

I would like also to congratulate all the women around Vanuatu and especially the two awardees for the International Women’s Day. You deserved that honour.

I believe the International Women’s Day event will always educate all the males to start respecting women and for everyone to work together to address the inequalities faced by our mothers and sisters.

Women are still calling for more reserve seats in the provincial and national Parliament.

It is now time for us men to balance the scale.

Dr. james Emmanuel Kwegyir once said, “The surest way to keep people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a women, you educate a family”.

Lets start to look and think in a different way about women. Maybe we should start thinking about our own mothers and sisters instead of just ‘women’ because I believed in that way people will start to feel and see the importance of respecting women.

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