Gender-based violence in Melanesia (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG) are amongst the highest rates in the world.
– 73% of women in the Solomons feel that it is justified in some circumstances for a man to beat their wife.*
– 64% of women in the Solomons aged between 15 and 49 who have been in a relationship, have been physically or sexually abused, this violence was often severe.*
– 37% of women in the Solomons aged between 15 and 49 had been sexually abused before they were 15.*
Gender inequity is a significant problem that I have many thoughts about, suffice to say that improving gender equity in Solomons is one of the long term mission objectives that I have – I spent two years working on national Cervical cancer prevention activities in the Solomons and am now working on my cacao project, of which cacao farming has tremendous potential for empowering women in rural communities.
As well as the direct linkage to gender equity through female cacao farmers, I am also looking at how we can do more for gender empowerment in our cacao business.
We have a few good ideas that we have already made a little progress towards. I look forward to sharing more about this in the future.
* Statistics from Secretariat of the Pacific Community for Ministry of Women, Youth & Children’s Affairs. 2009. Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study: A study on violence against women and children. National Statistics Office. Ministry of Finance and Treasury, National Reform and Planning. Published by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community 2009.