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Delegates at the Women's Consultation
Photo No. : P070924-1
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Delegates at the Women's Consultation
Photo No. : P070924-2
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Government Supports Churches for Advancement of Women
September 24, 2007

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children's Affairs, Mrs Ethel Sigimanu, said the government was aspiring to forge and strengthen its partnership with churches in order to raise the people's standard of living in the rural areas.

Her keynote address was presented in absentia this morning to open a four-day women's consultation of the Church of Melanesia in Honiara. She described the consultation as an encouraging and positive step taken by the Church to advance the situation of women and their families.

Mrs Sigimanu said the government, through her ministry, was committed to raising the people's standard of living in the rural areas and their active engagement in nation building.

"As advocators for the advancement of women, it is essential that we take advantage of this opportunity provided by the government, because it allows us to make the necessary interventions through government and through the Church's own structure to give more voice to what we do," she said.

For too long, she said, the situation of women has been sidelined. The Church must continue to take leadership in this role, for this is the only way we can achieve real meaning to what we do as a Church and more so as Christians.

"Let us strive in our Christian duties to elevate the status of our women where they can be recognized and utilize opportunities available to them to their full potential.

"As leaders we must strive to rise beyond our challenges. Its time that women of this country stand up for what we believe is best for our children and our land, to fight injustice and empower all -- irrespective of race, culture social location or sexual orientation," she said.

She encouraged the women to be brave and be the prophetic voice, to be the voice of wisdom wherever they served.

The provincial consultation is attended by more than eighty women from different ministries and groups with the Church of Melanesia in both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It concludes on Thursday, September 27.