The fact that the President of the Marshall Islands Hilda Heine and Majuro Atoll Local government Mayor Ladie Jack pledged to support the biggest women group in the Marshall Islands — Women United Together Marshall Islands —during its 17th annual conference Monday at the International Conference Center means WUTMI is looking ahead to a year of significant productivity.
President Heine, who is also a founding member of WUTMI, urged the group to stay the course with its focus on four pillars for which the NGO stands: cultural preservation, capacity building, sustainable development and human rights advocacy.
Heine shared that research indicates a healthy and educated woman in a family will lead to a healthy and well off family. The same research shows when women hold influential levels within the government and have full support from their families, the community will benefit.
Heine capitalized on her engagement at Monday’s opening to push the conference theme “Adaptive Measures for Income Generation and Sustainable Livelihood” to another level, pointing out that 28 percent of all Marshallese women are in the workforce earning salary — 66 percent of the RMI workforce is comprised of men, while women are 34 percent, a gap, Heine urges women to close in the years to come.
The President also shared the cruel reality of data collected between 2013 and 2014 through the Family Health and Safety study. The results show 51 percent of women suffer from domestic violence. Of that 51 percent, 85 percent think it’s the norm to be punished by their spouse or partner.
Following his pledge to assist WUTMI in the days to come, Mayor Ladie Jack invited the group and its supporters for a welcoming feast at the Marshall Islands Resort’s poolside.
Read more about this in the November 1, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.