As part of International Women’s Day, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission launched the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy 2022-2024 and its Action Plan. The GESI policy aims to uphold the government’s commitment to enhance gender equality and social inclusion in elections.

The GESI policy was endorsed by the Electoral Commission in June 2022 and was developed in partnership with stakeholders from targeted communities. It is designed to build an understanding of issues related to gender equality and social inclusion in the administration and running of elections.

The Action Plan 2022-2024 includes both internal and external domain strategies to strengthen gender and social mainstreaming mechanisms, increase the representation of minority groups, and systematize gender and social inclusion training and capacity building. The aim is to foster all-inclusive perspectives throughout the Solomon Islands’ electoral processes.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Fredrick Bosoboe, Acting Chief Electoral Officer, reiterated the Commission’s commitment to boosting inclusivity and accessibility of elections as “they are the key component of a healthy democracy.”

“As we launch the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy today, we commit to bringing gender and social inclusion perspectives to election procedures and engagements to increase active participation of the electorate,” said Bosoboe.

Ms. Vaela Ngai, Director for Women Development Division, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children, and Family Affairs, emphasized that the endorsement of this Policy is a “milestone not only for the Electoral Commission but for every state institution as it will set the example for others to follow.”

Ms. Ngai further noted that “overall, women, youth, and people with disabilities continue to face multiple discrimination and significant barriers to equal political participation. A policy like this helps us evaluate what gaps and challenges have to be addressed.”

Taeasi Sanga, the Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, handed over the GESI Policy to the Chief of the Electoral Office and noted that “it ensures that everyone is involved in this conversation.”

“Inclusion of people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups let them enjoy their right to participate in decisions which directly impact their livelihoods and, most importantly, their future,” Ms. Sanga concluded.

Following the launch of the Policy, an awareness-raising talk on ‘all you want to know about elections and the electoral cycle’ was hosted by a representative of the SIEC Communications Division.

The launch of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy was hosted by the Solomon Islands Electoral Office with the support of the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in Solomon Islands Project, which is a collaboration by the Government of Australia, the European Union, and UNDP to the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) through the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) to support the sustainability and credibility of the electoral processes in the country.

Source: Press Release