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International Women's Day Message 2008 by Minister for Health and Social Development, MRS MARIE-PIERRE LLYOD
Investing in Women and Girls” is the theme chosen for the commemoration of International Women’s Day. As usual, we in Seychelles, join the rest of the international community, in dedicating this day, the 8th of March, in raising awareness about the status of women and girls in Seychelles.

8th March provides a significant opportunity for our population because it allows us to contrast the local situations of Seychellois women with the international reality facing millions of women all over the world. Most importantly however, Women’s Day is a time for us, as a people and Government to take stock of our achievements and renew our commitment to addressing those challenges that are specific to our women and girls.

We recognise that in Seychelles the struggle for equality, between men and women is long over. Women’s Rights are enshrined in our Constitution.

National statistics bear testimony to the fact that Seychellois women and girls have the same opportunities as their male counterparts in all spheres of development; notably education, health, employment, politics and sports. enshrined in our constitution the voice of the nation is the voice of both Seychellois women and men.

Whereas the UN is calling for Governments to invest in girls and women by providing them with access to education, health care and employment opportunities to realise gender equality, we in Seychelles, should invest our efforts in combating the present ills that are impacting on our women and girls. Domestic Violence, drugs and substance abuse, AIDS.

We should invest in better and more effective protection of our girls and women. Investing in our girl and women also means that we need to ensure that our children are kept safe in their homes and communities. Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of our girls, women should not be tolerated in our society.

We need to invest more in rehabilitation sessions for the young girls and women who have been traumatised so that they can learn to love and be loved and thus not falling prey to further abuse like exploitation and prostitution.

I am saddened to hear these recent cases of abuse of young girls.

We should invest more in ensuring that our young girls and women find meaningful gainful occupation, which does not strip them of their self respect and of their dignity.

I would end this message with a special appeal to all Seychellois girls and women. Your great-grand mothers, grand mothers and mothers fought their dignity and respect. Their struggle was not in vain because today, Seychellois girls and women are proud contributors in the development of our country.

Girls and women of Seychelles let us invest in ourselves, take time to educate, be informed, developed our life skills that will help us become resilient, self assertive.

Let us, on this 8th March reflect on what is going on in our society – let this day be one where we can each reflect, united network and mobilize for meaningful changes in the life of our girls and women.

I wish all Seychellois girls and women a Happy International Women’s Day.

Gender Secretariat, 17.07.08