Pacific’s First Female Leader To Open Conference In Suva
The Pacific island nations’ first female leader of government is set to open a Women’s Empowerment Conference which will be held at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay from next week.
Hilda C Heine made history as the first woman to lead an independent Pacific Island nation when she was elected president of the Marshall Islands in January 2016. She’s also a role model for young Pacific girls and women. It is the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of the Pacific Ministers for Women organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
The weeklong conference will bring across 22 Pacific Island countries and territories to discuss progress and implementation of gender equality commitments in the region.
President Heine, 66, is the co-founder of the women’s rights group Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), an association advocating for the elimination of violence against women and providing counselling services for victims of domestic violence.
In 2004, she became the first person (woman or man) in the Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree. She was also the first female president of the College of Marshall Islands, and also the first president of the college.
As president, she strongly appeals to and urges all countries to take action to mitigate climate change. In June, she addressed the European Parliament to seek its support to persuade President Donald Trump of the importance and need for urgent action on climate change.
The Marshall Islands comprises over a thousand low-lying islands and islets that are threatened by the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels and more frequent and extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.
Marshall Island President Hilda C Heine.