President's message for Women's Day
The Seychellois nation is proud to join the rest of the world to commemorate International Women’s Day. It is a time to recognise the contribution of our courageous women in the building of our modern and progressive society in which no one feels at a disadvantage because of their gender. This day is a tribute to the extraordinary role of women in the family, the community, the economy, and society at large. We mark their economic, political and social achievements. On this day we reflect on the changes still to be made to continue empowering our women, defending their rights and protecting their dignity.
I take this opportunity to praise all the women and men in the government and civil society who are working for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Seychelles is progressing well towards our goal of gender equality. There has been a marked increase in women’s leadership and participation in decision-making in various sectors. We now have, for example, three female cabinet ministers, a female judge, a female secretary general, nine female principal secretaries and sixteen female CEO’s in the public sector. Young women made up the majority of the students who graduated from the University of Seychelles last year.
Women are the main contributors in education in our country. They are predominant in health and welfare. Women are the majority in the workforces in a number of economic enterprises. More girls are acquiring new skills that will allow them in future to assume an even bigger role in nation-building. Opening more economic opportunities to women will significantly raise economic growth and reduce poverty. When we guarantee equal rights and opportunities to all we are promoting the healthy functioning of individuals, our families and our nation. Indeed, we are preparing for the better future.
The local theme Mainstreaming the Gender Agenda in Social Renaissance suggests that we focus on the achievements of women, while remaining tenacious and vigilant for further sustainable change. Significant progress that has been made, but we can do more.
We can do more to eliminate violence, in all its forms, against women and girls in our country. It is a sad reality that some of them have to face daily in their lives. As our social renaissance movement gains momentum, I urge all individuals, groups and communities to join hands in a determined effort to help rid our country of all forms of abuse and social ills.
“A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, we are reminded by the United Nations on International Women’s Day this year.
I commend the Ministry of Social Affairs, Community Development and Sport for organising a national conference to debate the social ills affecting women. The purpose of the conference is to continue raising awareness of the various issues in society affecting women today. It is an opportunity to highlight the activities the government and non-government agencies are involved in that can positively impact the problematic areas in society.
The practice of gender equality, the culture of respect and appreciation, should begin at home. In order to have gender equality nationwide we need greater balance of responsibilities between men and women, boys and girls. It is vital that caring responsibilities for children, the elderly and the sick are better balanced between the genders. As men, we must protect and also empower the women in our lives, appreciate their hard work, contribution, strength and achievements that have supported immensely us in our lives and endeavours.
I wish all the girls and women of Seychelles the very best on this special day. Happy International Women’s Day!