Royal Solomon Islands Police Officer, Detective Inspector Florence Taro, was awarded the RAMSI Special Coordinator's Award for Women, recognising her contribution to improving the status of women both within and outside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Graeme Wilson, presented the award to Inspector Taro at today's RAMSI Women's Breakfast attended by more than 200 women, as part of International Women's Day celebrations in Solomon Islands.

In presenting the award, Mr Wilson said that Detective Inspector Taro was a shining example of the dedication and commitment of women in Solomon Islands.

"In her disciplined and dedicated approach to all aspects of her life, Florence has been a great role model, but she has also done much in her own professional area to bring about real changes that have significantly improved the situation for women in this country," said Mr Wilson.

"Florence has a heartfelt commitment to Solomon Islands and great empathy for her fellow countrymen and women," he said.

Inspector Taro, who was recently promoted to Deputy Director of the RSIPF's Criminal Investigations Division, has served with the RSIPF for over two decades,

A driving force behind the establishment in 2003 of the RSIPF's Sexual Assault Squad, Detective Inspector Taro is admired for the long hours she devotes to her work and the effective way in which she carries out her duties. She is an active member of the Women in Policing Group and a long-standing member of the RSIPF's Women's Netball team.

In accepting the award, Detective Inspector Taro said she was humbled by receiving such an honour, and hoped that it would serve to motivate her female colleagues in the RSIPF to continue their work in providing justice to victims of crime.

"I always think of the victims of an offence, and put myself in their shoes," said Inspector Taro. "I always think: 'Imagine if this is your father, mother, sister, brother, daughter or son - how would you like them to be treated?' If you have this within yourself, you can deliver the best service possible."

RAMSI Special Coordinator Mr Wilson said in that in marking International Women's Day, RAMSI wanted to acknowledge the enormous contribution women made to their country.

"This is a time for everyone to recognise the efforts that have been made by Solomon Islands women," said Mr Wilson.

"Through the contribution of women like Florence, the goal of equal opportunity is taken another step forward," said Mr Wilson.

Inspector Taro received a cash prize of SBD 2000 as part of the award.

The keynote speaker at this year's breakfast, Fa'amausili Dr Matagialofi Lua'iufi, a former head of Samoa's Public Service Commission, spoke on Women who Change the World.

Dr Lua'iufi said that despite stereotyping, it is a recognised fact that women get things done and make things happen.

"Women in the world over and in the Pacific are our agents of change and are clearly the drivers of progress and development, and we have enjoyed the fruits of their labour because of their courage, determination and commitment.

"We all have great stories, great histories of our women to share and the integral role they play in our villages, our communities, our countries. You are those women!"

The RAMSI Women's Breakfast follows the launch of Being the First: Storis Blong Oloketa Mere lo Solomon Aelan, a new book that tells the stories of 14 Solomon Islands women who have broken through barriers, charting their journeys to positions of leadership in their country. It was published with the assistance of RAMSI, and was compiled by a team led by Dr Alice Pollard and Professor Marilyn Waring of RAMSI's Women in Government program.

Each woman who was a guest at today's breakfast received a copy of the Being The First.