KEYNOTE ADDRESS FOR THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022 By Hon. Prime Minister – Fiame Naomi Matā’afa- 08 March 2022
Rev. Brenda Reed
Members of Parliament
Excellencies High Commissioners of Australia and Great Britain to Samoa
United Naions Resident Coordinator
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to deliver this address to mark this special occasion- the commemoration of the International Women’s Day for Samoa 2022.
This event takes place on the 8th of March every year, a universal event in celebration of all women, to applaud their achievements, to acknowledge and appreciate their significant contribution towards a country’s development efforts; and to reflect on their resilience and determination to overcome the challenges they face.
More so, the commemoration every year, is a call for women’s voice to be heard, women’s rights to be recognized, women’s protection from all forms violence to be prioritized, women’s capacities and abilities to be realized and utilized, and for all women to be afforded all opportunities for their inclusion in all aspects of life.
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s out of an outcry by women, against inequality and oppression of women’s rights including unfair employment conditions and limited or no voting rights amongst many others. In the year 1975, the International Women’s Day was declared by the United Nations and marked the start of the Decade for Women.
Samoa’s recognition of this commemoration is derived out of its commitment to promote gender equality and provide equal opportunities for all. It is a goal that align well with the Global campaign theme which objective is to – Break the Bias. This campaign theme is more articulated in the international Women’s Day 2022 overall theme – ‘Gender Equality for a sustainable tomorrow’
It is saying no to stereotypes, gender disparity and discrimination, whilst acknowledging differences and diversities that should never be regarded as barriers towards maximum utilization of opportunities. Despite gender differences, everyone is entitled and should be given the opportunity to explore their full potential regardless of gender, age, has a disability or without, or any other.
Evidence suggests that gender inequality increases the risk of violence against women, making them more vulnerable to all forms of violence. Promoting gender equality is therefore critical in the fight to address violence against women and girls. Unless we bridge that gap, the plight of gender-based violence will continue to haunt our economy, social life and our whole existence.
Additionally, the theme for JWD this year speaks of the invaluable role of women in response efforts towards critical issues facing the world currently, namely the parallel crises, of the pandemic and climate change affecting our environment, livelihoods and well-being. The goal is not to draw boundaries between men and women in any way, but rather to ensure both men and women and all others have equal rights to opportunities and services according to their different needs.
As a committed signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of Violence against Women, convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Beijing Platform of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals, Samoa continues its efforts through policy formulation, advocacy work, fostering partnerships, capacity building, community strengthening and inclusion, and ensuring available quality and improved service delivery for its people via both government nd non-government agencies.
In 2021, Samoa launched its second National Policy on Gender Equality, ideally, a significant part of the work to address gender inequality needs to be concentrated on behavioural change including awareness raising on fundamental human rights which make all people equal regardless of gender and/or social status.
Gender equality is a shared obligation. The goal to achieve gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow holds everyone accountable.
Today’s commemoration programs will include panel discussions to establish quality and impactful information sharing on the achievements made by women. In all spheres of life, lessons learnt, challenges faced and most importantly the solutions explored. These dialogues are imperative in the realization of a world free of bias, and a world whereby gender equality prevails for a sustainable tomorrow.
I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge our development partners whose assistance and support in different forms adds to and drives Samoa’s efforts for a violence free society through the promotion of gender equality. I thank in particular the government of Australia for its support of the commemoration activity for the year’s international Women’s Day in partnership with UN Women through the Women in Leadership Samoa Program (WILS). I also acknowledge all our other partners’ assistance delivered in an integrated manner towards gender equality as well as the active engagement of ll our national stakeholders.
On this note, I am happy to announce that the commemoration of the International Women’s Day for Samoa 2022, is now officially opened,.