The representative for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Mrs. Mia Rimon, stated that more can be done for the women of Solomon Islands and the region.

Mrs. Rimon was speaking during a ceremony held at the cultural village to mark International Women's Day.

"Pacific Island communities need to take ownership of financing gender equality initiatives...this can be best achieved by combining regional and national schemes," said Mrs. Rimon.

Mrs. Rimon stated that recent reports have revealed that domestic budgetary support for gender related activities totaled 1 % or less of the total budget of most Pacific Island countries.

The study also highlighted how government agencies, responsible for gender equality programmes, have been struggling to implement them due to limited technical capacity and budgetary support.

To gauge perceptions 'on the ground' on the issue of gender equality, Solomon Times took to the streets and found some interesting thoughts on the issue.

Kimmie Oeta, a betel nut vendor, stressed the importance in involving women in development activities "because they are part of the community...and it would help build our economy."

"It is important for us to step ahead with our governments help because our regional partners really involve their women," stated another.

Others were less receptive, "it is a good idea, but we must be sure that we develop them where it matters, not just education, but life skills...not all can participate through formal employment," stated one mother.