Program Officer for Reproductive Health, Health Division, Honiara City Council
My name is Bethylyn Warereau and I am from Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands. I am married with three children. I hold both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Nursing both from the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. I also hold a diploma in Midwifery from the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (now known as the Solomon Islands National University).
I enjoy playing netball, volleyball and I enjoy dancing, cooking, gardening, picnics, watching movies/TV and meeting new friends.
What is your current position with the council?
I currently work as the Program Officer for Reproductive Health which comes under the Health Division at Honiara City Council.
Have you held any other positions?
- Supervising midwife practitioners
- Occasionally held positions of clinical nurse and consultant on acting base when officers in charge took their leave
How long have you worked in your current job?20 years as a nurse, and in current position for 11 years.
Have you had the opportunity to take a leadership role in your work? The current position I hold involves middle level management role but it does not include much in terms of decision making as most decisions and directives are done from upper management. In my opinion, I am not fully utilized on the knowledge, skills and experiences that I have acquired.
I have not been given a chance to take up any leadership role that I can fully participate in decision making. This may be due to gender related issues.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced?No proper consultations between middle managers and senior managers on decision making which results in sometimes biased decisions being made from the top, gender inequality and inequity.
What have been some of your biggest accomplishments?
Having been given the opportunity to upgrade to a higher qualification, gaining a promotion and being better prepared to take up future professional obligations.
Being a qualified nurse, a certified midwife and having contributed through my work to improving reproductive health indicators.
Why do you think women and girls need to participate in local decision making? I am sure it is a fair thing to empower women o participate in decision making. Gender is both men and women’s business. It is no longer a women’s issue any more and involves both.
Women are leaders too, they can make good decisions and therefore they should be respected for who they are and what they are good at in all levels of life.
Women and girls should take ownership and participate in local decision making because women and girls have experience that have affected their lives in communities.
What can HCC do to improve the lives of women and girls?
There are a number of ways such as:
- The Ministry responsible for provincial government should appoint women to take up leadership roles at the senior management level because there are a few posts at the management level in local government that are appointed.
- Encourage political will
- Encourage and involve women in politics, for instance, five reserved seats in local government for women such as the newly introduced ones in Port Vila Municipal Council in Vanuatu.
- Create fair and just workplaces, for example, if the City Mayor post is taken by a man then the Deputy Mayor post should be awarded to a woman, the same being for City Clerk and vice versa. There should be equal distribution of leadership role holders of men and women in local government.
- Develop career opportunities in local government for women
- Create volunteer and education opportunities in local government for women and girls
Message to other women:
In the present climate of information in society, there is a need for us small nation countries to be informed and keep up to date with the rapid technological change, savage competition and the need for an increase in productivity and adopting change in order to live up to the standards practiced in developed countries.
If we would like to change the current mentality, there is a need for regular consultations with the right people at all levels including: national and local government, private sectors, community based organizations, faith based organizations and non-government organizations- involving and encouraging participation of all stakeholders at all levels.