08 March 2019 | Gender.
Message from President Danny Faure
on the occasion of International Women’s Day
Friday 8 March 2019
Today, on International Women’s Day, we join the rest of the world to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere and reaffirm our collective commitment to gender equality.
The theme for International Women’s Day this year, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, puts innovation at the centre of efforts to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of technology, and access to public services and opportunities.
None of us can move forward if half of us are held back. Seychelles, as a small island nation, has made great strides in achieving gender equality. The Constitution guarantees gender equality through the Preamble and the Seychellois Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.
Seychelles also recognises that women need some special protection, which is articulated through various legal frameworks. The needs of working women are recognised in the Constitution in Article 30 which notes “the unique status and maternal functions of women in society” and provides for appropriate protections in terms of paid leave and work conditions. As of 15 May 2018, working mothers who have given birth are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, instead of 14 weeks. Government also places great emphasis on shared responsibilities in our homes and as a result the duration of paternity leave has also been increased from 5 to 10 days.
However, women continue to face barriers to achieving their full potential; from discrimination, to harassment and gender-based violence, to a lack of opportunity, freedom, and support. Women and girls must have opportunities to contribute to making real change, and help shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact their lives.
I wish all women and girls in Seychelles a Happy International Women’s Day and call upon all boys and men to recognize their important role as equal partners of women and girls in society. Every single one of us – no matter our gender identity – has a role to play in achieving gender equality. On International Women’s Day, and every day, let us celebrate women’s contributions and stand up for women’s rights.