Administration Officer, Works Division, Honiara City Council
My name is Zitu Lepping and I am from Western Province in the Solomon Islands. I come from a family of six. My early childhood education was spent in Malaita and my secondary education in Honiara. In 2010, I started work at Honiara City Council as a volunteer in the Youth, Women and Sports Division.
What is your current position in the Council? I am the Administrative Officer for the Works Division of Honiara City Council.
How long have you worked in the Council? Including my time as a volunteer, I have been with HCC for almost 4 years now.
Have you had the opportunity to take a leadership role in your work?Professionally I can say that my colleagues depend on me a lot. If I am not in the office they do not have anyone with whom they can get guidance in relation to the work that they have been assigned to do. All the budgeting, admin work, payments, timesheets and referencing is usually my responsibility but when I am way, say at a training or workshop, they will almost always call or come find me in order to get help on how to do these processes.
What challenges have you faced?
In my office, there are 7 officers altogether and I am the only female. I can say that sometimes it is a very tough work environment. At times my voice is not heard or not taken seriously. For me, I’ve observed that every day I will encounter an argument with at least one colleague usually because demanding or ordering me to do something that is normally not within my job description.
Another challenge has been with my husband who does not like me working in my current job because of the male dominated nature of the office. He is ok with me working, but not in my current workplace setting. This causes arguments at times between the two of us.
Why do you think women and girls need to participate in local decision making?
If the voice of women is not heard, their issues and concerns will not be raised and women will continue to be disadvantaged and neglected. Women need to be included in these processes, only then will respect for women and their right to voice and opinion also be respected.
What do you think HCC can do to improve the lives of women and girls?
HCC can help by providing more gender friendly facilities, for example in terms of sports, to have changing rooms for women at the moment we don’t have these facilities.