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More than 6,500 employees working for the biggest companies in Solomon Islands are now benefiting from more equal, supportive and respectful workplaces, with a marked rise in the numbers who feel safe at work, in the wake of a two- year initiative on gender equality.
This findings are contained in a report assessing the Waka Mere Commitment to Action, which showed the number of employees who did not feel comfortable or safe at work fell from 25 percent two years ago to just 10 percent. It is a huge shift in a nation where 64 percent of women experience violence in their lifetimes and its effects often spill into the workplace. Research by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has found 80 percent of employees who experienced violence were impacted at work; with 20 percent of them in the same workplace as their abuser.
Jointly led by IFC and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), and with support from the Australian and New Zealand governments, the Waka Mere initiative catalyzed companies to adopt new policies and practices to close the gaps between men and women, improve corporate culture, invest in future female leaders, and offer women skills training and jobs in roles traditionally held by men. Business outcomes also improved, with increased productivity and innovation, decreased absenteeism and reduced employee turnover.