The Public Works Department (PWD) joined forces with the Australian Government and Youth Challenge Vanuatu (YCV) to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 at Warwick Le Lagon Resort in Port Vila yesterday.

The event, aimed to uplift the voices of young women and promote inclusivity in traditionally male-dominated sectors, with a particular focus on infrastructure development.

Under the theme “Count her in: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,” the event attracted over 200 participants from various organisations.

The agenda featured a diverse array of activities, including panel discussions, informational booths, and a vibrant selfie station, all designed to engage and empower the attendees.

A key moment came with the opportunity for youths to interact with PWD engineers and officers, providing valuable insights into the experiences and accomplishments of women in a field historically dominated by men.

The participants, organised into colour groups, rotated through different stations, each offering a unique perspective on the theme. With 40 minutes allotted for each station, the event promoted dynamic exchanges and hands-on learning experiences.

Distinguished guests, including Deputy Australian High Commissioner Emily Fisher and Acting Director General from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU), Junior Shim George, had also attended this occasion.

In their speeches, they highlighted the importance of cultivating inclusivity, empowering women, and breaking down gender barriers in the workforce, especially in technical fields like engineering.

Addressing the gathering, the Acting DG highlighted the increasing presence of women in traditionally male-dominated spaces and leadership roles within government offices, emphasising the positive impact on the nation’s progress towards gender equality.

Ms Fisher echoed these sentiments, emphasising the importance of investing in women for both societal advancement and business success.

She stressed that companies embracing gender diversity gain a competitive edge and contribute to stronger economic growth.

Ms Joylyn Boe, Chairman of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU) Women’s Network, expressed her appreciation for the event’s success and highlighted the significance of engaging youths from the YCV. She noted that such collaborations provide invaluable insights into gender equality and open doors to diverse job opportunities previously perceived as inaccessible to women.

The event concluded on a note of optimism, with participants inspired to champion inclusivity and empower women in their communities.