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UNFPA senior official commends Seychelles for "great progress" on women's equality and empowerment

Victoria, Seychelles | March 14, 2024, Thursday @ 16:40 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2942
UNFPA senior official commends Seychelles for "great progress" on women's equality and empowerment

A High-Level Forum was organised on Thursday marking International Women's Day, celebrated on March 8. (Seychelles News Agency)

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The regional director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Lydia Zigomo, is on a first mission in Seychelles to get a first-hand appraisal of ongoing UNFPA activities in the island nation.

During her visit, Zigomo was the guest of honour at a High-Level Forum on Thursday marking International Women's Day, which was celebrated on March 8, organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Family in collaboration with the UNFPA.  

Many young women entrepreneurs attended the event held at the ICCS in which there were inspirational speakers and panel discussions about entrepreneurship for women in Seychelles as well as the aspect of health for women.

Zigomo described her first visit to Seychelles as very useful and rewarding.

"I think there are many lessons to be learned from Seychelles and other island countries who are achieving great progress on women's equality and women empowerment that mainland Africa could learn from," she said.

Zigomo said, "Ultimately, we start with educating the girl child. That's fundamental. The more we can see girls education uplifted, and Seychelles is setting a trend in that respect, it has nearly achieved gender parity in education and that is one of the areas for investing in women. We want to see more girls in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] subjects, so this investment is particularly important. We also need to look at how to invest in women-led businesses and also women in leadership."

She also talked about the health component for women.

"We need to make sure that women and girls have the ability to exercise their rights and choices for bodily autonomy, so access to modern contraceptives, family planning and other reproductive health interventions that ensure that we are detecting as early as possible potential health problems and treating them is very important," said Zigomo.

The forum was also an opportunity for several entrepreneurs to display and exhibit their products. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

Compared to previous years, this year, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family is commemorating International Women's Day for the whole month of March.

The Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Marie-Celine Zialor, emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship especially in terms of accelerating progress for women and said, "We are asking women to invest in themselves and we've done this forum especially to talk about this subject, the challenges and benefits. [...] We want to review financing programmes specifically for women. We want to make them more women-friendly." 

"We've been in discussion with Mrs Zigomo's office since last year. She is looking for success stories to inspire the rest of Africa. We want to share the success stories of Seychelles; we are talking about many avenues of cooperation. We want to use Seychelles as a platform to advance the progress of women on the African continent," she added.

A young Seychellois entrepreneur and one of the panellists at the forum, Juliette Dine, told SNA that the importance of such events is that it is a platform for entrepreneurs to be able to showcase what they are doing.

"In Seychelles, we also have women who come up with innovative ideas. Most of the time, we hear that men are doing things so we don't usually hear what women are doing. It's a good opportunity to show how far can women go and what they are sacrificing to get what they want. It's also a platform for us to talk to one another, to network and possibly build connections that will last for a very long time," said Dine.

The forum was also an opportunity for several entrepreneurs to display and exhibit their products.

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Tags: UNFPA, International Women's Day

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