Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

National women's conference in Kosrae adopts gender based resolutions

Tofol, Kosrae (FSM Information Services): August 3, 2010 - The 2010 Federated States of Micronesia Women Conference gathered women from across the nation in Kosrae from July 12-16, to discuss gender issues under the banner "harmonizing gender roles to make a difference" and adopted three gender based resolutions.

Gender is among the planning matrices under the FSM Strategic Development Plan (SDP) which identified priority issues for work in the FSM from 2004 to 2023. The Kosrae Conference is the first national women conference after the adoption of the 2004 FSM SDP and the first major gathering of the nation's women councils after a 10-year absence.

First Lady of the host state, Josefa A. Weilbacher noted that the conference provided the opportunity for FSM women to "discuss many of the critical issues facing women in the nation." Noting the various issues, she also went on to acknowledge the many success stories of women in the FSM and highlighted the conference as the "occasion for us to share our experiences and knowledge that would allow us to learn from each other culturally."

Similar sentiments were echoed by the keynote speaker for the Opening Ceremony, Vice President Alik L. Alik, who referred to the conference as the needed forum for FSM women to reassess their changing environment and make the necessary adjustments.

"We have to recognize that the traditional systems and social safety nets we use to enjoy have shifted. We have to take initiatives and measures to adapt to our changing environment," Vice President told the participants.

He emphasized that progress cannot be shouldered by the Government alone, it requires the collective input of all stakeholders, "it requires each of us to do our part whether in our own organizations, communities or families; we have to first understand our roles, what we want and how we can make a difference."

Alik urged the conference to make necessary policy recommendations that would encourage cooperation from government and sectors of civil society to work together with women so that "entire communities may benefit from the empowerment of women."

He also recognized the activities undertaken by the Women Councils and Association in each of the four states and commended the various initiatives undertaken by the women and challenged them to expand their innovative ideas utilizing their strengths and expertise.

The 2010 was officially opened by Governor Robert J. Weilbacher who encouraged

the participants to rationalize the roles of men and women today to make a difference. He underlined the fact that while the FSM has taken great strides to even the gender field, "more still needs to be done."

Colorful and lively delegations of women from the four states gathered at the Kosrae High School in Tofol for the weeklong conference joined by presenters and representatives of the five governments, development partners, regional and international organizations and an eclectic range of participants from the civil society.

The conference addressed various gender based issues, specifically the subject of:

  • women's health;
  • women in decision making;
  • success and challenges of self employment;
  • quality education-keeping students in school and teachers at work;
  • youth social adjustments; and
  • disability, whose responsibility is it.

Other topics included: Domestic Violence, Millennium Development Goals, Congressional Bill 16-10, Constitutional Amendments, FSM Tax Reform, Social Security and many more.

With the gender planning matrix of the FSM SDP as a guideline, the conference incorporated the various presentations, consultations and discussions to gauge FSM's progress in gender work for the past six years. The Conference agreed that while the goals under the Gender Matrix were being addressed at various levels, much more needed to done to fulfill them.

In that regard the Conference adopted three gender based resolutions to recognize the national progress made thus far under the Gender Matrix and urged parallel actions from the respective governments, and they are:

  • Resolution 2010-02, which recognized that the National and Kosrae State Government have adopted mandatory maternity leave for its employees and thereby the delegates urged the respective state legislatures to follow suit and "pass maternity legislations as soon as possible;"

  • Resolution 2010-03, which recognized the existence of domestic violence in the FSM along with current efforts by the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs to review effectiveness of existing laws and thereby the delegates urged the state governments to pass necessary laws to address domestic violence and other forms of violence against women; and

  • Resolution 2010-04, which endorsed the intent of Congressional Bill 16-10 pending before the FSM Congress to provide reserved seats for women in Congress and urged the members of the FSM Congress to "pass C.B. 16-10 as soon as possible."

Ambassador Shoji Sato of the Japan Embassy joined the Kosrae Conference to sign over to Mrs. Christina 'Kiki' Stinnett a donation of $97,000 for the Chuuk Women Council Multipurpose Center.

Along with the adopted resolutions, the Conference noted that for the next two years, the effective way forward in gender work requires the partnership and collaboration of all stakeholders in the nation. To that extent, the Women Councils identified priorities in gender work that each would work towards in their respective states within the next two years.

The 2010 Conference concluded with the adoption of an Outcome Document and agreed that the next FSM Women's Conference will be in 2012, hosted in the State of Chuuk.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356