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Quarterly Focus 13 August 2008 Issue 1

Membership # 30
Message from the President
In this issue
Greetings to all of you for our first issue of the pursued a range of activities to firmly ground
• Women in Law Ven- Women In Law, Newsletter; it also coincides the Association and to support its members:
ture out…. with our 30th Independence Anniversary, per-
haps our group is an indication of our progress. • to further the understanding of and
• Legal workshop for I will provide some background as to our support for the legal and human rights of
Women in Law Association, focusing on its women, it held a Legal Awareness workshop
women by women
formation and summarizing our first year’s for the Christian Care Centre workers and
• Membership Forms activities. other participants at the Save the Children
conference room;
• Links to other The Women in Law Association was formed in
2005 when a group of women lawyers gathered • fostering social interaction amongst
Women Lawyer So-
together and formally approved the Constitu- members, a social night was organized by the
cieties. tion. The initial membership was around 18 Executive and held at a member’s residence;
women lawyers. and recently on May 30th we had a picnic at Hammock
• Contact Details
The Women in Law Association matters are executed on
behalf of the Association by the Executive Committee
which consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, • in promoting the recognition of the Association, the
Treasurer and 2 executive members. The Executive is re- Association was featured in a one page local feature in the
sponsible for the co-ordination, administration and day to Solomon Star Weekend Magazine dated 1 June, 2007;
day management of the Association.
President – Jean • in furthering and support of the legal and human
The first Executive Committee was elected at the Novem- rights of women, Executive members have been invited
ber 2006 meeting and comprises of Jean A. Gordon as and are part of the reporting mechanism at the govern-
Vice President: Mirriam President, Mirriam Lidimani as Vice-President, Secretary ment level for the CEDAW report;
Lidimani initially was Michelle Gardiner, who has since left Solo-
mon Islands and our current Secretary is now Georgia in working towards equal opportunity and the advance-
Treasurer; Anika King- Harley. Anika Kingmele is our Treasurer and we have ment of women generally, Executive members have been
Sophia Munamua and Carol Pitasopa as our executive exposed to and aware of the recently launched Strategy in
members. Thanks also to Flory Alalo who had previously advancing the positions of women in Government”;
Secretary: Georgia served as an executive member.
In the Global context, CEDAW has dominated the inter-
Harley national arena, regionally we have what used to be the SPC
The Women in Law Association was established at a time
when the country itself was undergoing dramatic change. Pacific Women’s Bureau, nationally we have the NCW; on
In particular, was the entrance of the Regional Assistance the ground, legally most women continue to struggle with
Sophie Munamua, Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and the assistance violence in the home, inequality at work, abuse of rights
and enhancement of capacity in the judicial sector. that most do not even know of. Women in Law can make
Carol Pitisopa the change by using our acquired legal expertise and net-
This period of time produced a surge of both individual work together to produce legal and institutionalized
and national expectancy towards the delivery of better changes. I would encourage our members to network to-
governance and rule of law to the different individuals and gether and with other associations and groups that are
marginalized groups. Highlighted is the need for the im- working together to improve the status of women.
proved attention and accessibility to the machinery of the
law for both women and children and also the need to I look forward to the year 2008/2009. We intend to keep
establish equal gender participation in our government you informed via our newsletter and we welcome any con-
institutions. tribution that you may wish to make. We also invite you to
become a financial member of our Association. Applica-
Members of the Women in Law Association recognized tion forms can be picked up from any one of us.
their individual capacity to respond to these needs was
limited and so decided to pool their capacity and limited We wish you all the best for this year 2008.
resources and formed the Association through which to
administer and accomplish the objects of the Association. President

The Association is in its early years of existence and its Jean A. Gordon
formative years; it has a proud record of having actively
Graphics by: June Maru

Page 2

The group's constitution was drafted and in November 2006 it

was adopted with the establishment of a board of trustees
By Joy Rikimae who include Ms Gordon, Ms Tongarutu, Ms Lidimani, Ms
Carol Pitisopa and Ms Anika Kingmele.
THE Solomon Islands Women’s Lawyers Association is
one of the newly formed associations in Solomon Islands. With all these legal requirements in place, the members had
their first programme at the Christian Care Centre late last
It prompted from a group of women lawyers who felt the year.
need to share their knowledge with other women in Solo-
mon Islands as well as their needs and challenges. The workshop, which was on women and law, drew a lot of
participants from church groups, officers and members of the
An association that aimed at helping others know about public.
our laws.
It was from this workshop that we see that there is a great
This first ever women lawyers association is headed by need, especially when it comes to resource people teaching
president Jean Gordon women on the basic areas of law.

According to Ms Gordon the idea to form such an associa- It also makes us realise that most of the time we tend to hire
tion exist a long time ago, during the days when there overseas experts to talk about women's issues when we our-
were still not many women lawyers in the country,...” was selve can do it, Ms Gordon said.
around the 1980s and at that time there was only myself,
the former acting Attorney General Nuatali Tongarutu and She said from feedbacks after the workshop, many women
Maelyn Bird........” had expressed the need for more awareness on legal matters
especially when dealing with women's issues.
“We were the only female lawyers in the country then and
during then the idea of forming an association was there So now we are making ourselves available to any women's
but because we do not have the number and our group groups around the country who want us to talk to them about
was so small we never brought it out for discussion," Mrs. any issues about the law because after all, this is one of our
Gordon stated. main objectives in forming the group, Ms Gordon said.

In fact, Ms Gordon said it was some 10 years later that We form because we want to help Solomon Islands women
another female lawyer graduated, Florrie Alalo Paulsen - understand the law - women and law.
bringing the number of women lawyers to four.
She said issues such as equal opportunities, women's rights,
All four of us were members of the SI Bar Association but domestic violence and so on.
we did not focus on women's issues or needs yet.
We want to focus on domestic violence because often this
Most of the women's issues then were only dealt with by affect mothers and children.
the Public Solicitors Office - an office where most local
Each of us see that it is important we share the knowledge
women do not feel comfortable in approaching because of
we now have by helping other women in the country who do
its status.
not have the opportunity to reach this standard.
It was not until 1999 when women's issues started getting
Each of us see that it is important we share the knowledge
more exposure that it prompted the establishment of the
we now have by helping other women in the country who do
Family Support Centre - a centre to cater for women's
not have the opportunity to reach this standard.
A part from this, the members of the association also help
That increase was what gave us the number to form this
each other by sharing their experiences when there is a need
association Ms Gordon said.
among each of them.
An informal meeting was held at the High Court confer-
Currently the association is also looking at working in all lev-
ence room and all the women lawyers agreed to forming
els of the society.
the association.
In the grassroots level the women lawyers want to focus in
In July 2006 the ladies appointed an executive headed by
areas of education and awareness programmes.
Ms Gordon as president and Ms Lidimani as vice-

Page 3

Grapevine corner…...Herem
Up coming kam oketa!!..

• Annual General Meeting

• Social Functions

• Fundraising

• Legal Awareness workshops

• Membership fee for new graduates only $20.00

(to be kept in the loop, become a member today and

you will receive up-to-date information on these hap-
penings…..see page 8 for further details.)

Women in law venture out…….continued

On the government level, they want to ensure there is equal opportunities for both men and women in the public sector.

We want to ensure there is a piece of law that recognises equal opportunities to be in the policies of this country, the presi-
dent said.

The association also want an input in the new policies set by the NGOs.

In the NGO system, new policies are coming up every now and then we are interested in giving some input into those new
policies, because obviously women are the ones who will be affected.

She said there are so many areas to cover in educating women about the laws of the country.

This she said was proven during the association's workshop at Christian Care Centre.

Most women who have attended our first workshop even asked us questions such as what is
law, can we use the law, does the law also address needs of women? These are questions
that show there is a lot of work ahead of us.

But she said what she highlighted was just some of the many issues which many women in
SI do not know about especially when it comes to law.

Quarterly Focus
Page 4

Legal Workshop for women if the father is going overseas?

by women. 4. Getting and enforcing maintenance orders

It soon became apparent that other can be very difficult – especially when fathers
women would also benefit from such move to the provinces – what can you do?
“Can a man training and invitations to attend the
workshop were extended to women from 5. What can women do if the court makes a
be charged other organisations. restraining order but the police don’t serve
13 women from the Christian Care Centre,
with rape of the Family Support Centre, the Ministry of 6. Can you get a restraining order against
Health Social Welfare Division, Oxfam and someone who is not family?
his wife?” the Mothers Union took part in the workshop
on 6h February. 7. Can you get a restraining order against
someone who is not family?
Vice-President of the Women Lawyers Asso-
ciation, Mirriam Lidimani, ably stepped into As an example of this, one of the participants
the role of convener of the workshop at the from the Mothers Union stated that she was
last moment. very proud that women are helping women in
this way. She said it can be very confusing
The workshop was opened by Christine with custom, church and the laws of the nation
Fowler, Senior Development Program Spe- and that the workshop had really helped her.
cialist from the RAMSI Law and Justice Pro-
gram. “By supporting community organisa- Participants also made a number of useful
“What can suggestions including that if the workshop was
tions like the Women Lawyers Association,
women do if the the RAMSI Law and Justice Program is run again then perhaps it should be run over a
helping to increase access to justice for full day as there was a lot of material to cover,
court makes a women by raising awareness about laws and perhaps it could include the issue of adop-
restraining order that can affect them”, she said. tion, and women from more organisations and
other churches could be in-
but the police A number of members of the Women Law- vited……………….continued on page 5
yers Association, namely Mrs Titiulu, Mrs
don’t serve this?” Habru, Mrs Fa’asau Pasikala, Mrs Kingmele,
Ms Munamua
and Mrs Lidi-
mani, delivered
presentations on
various topics at
the workshop.

The presenta-
tions were well
received and
stimulated much
“Can you get lump discussion and
Participants of the
many questions, workshop
sum child mainte-
nance if the father is
1. Can a man Participants of the Workshop, with the facilitators from
going overseas?” be charged
the Women In Law Association.
with the rape
of his wife?

2. What if a boy and a girl having sexual

intercourse are both underage?

3. Can you get lump sum child maintenance


Page 5

Legal Workshop for women by Together the new association share this Joint Secre-
women...continued……….. tariat, this office is occupied by the Senior Administrative
Officer (SAO) to the Associations, Mrs. June Maru.
This first ever event organised and delivered by the
Women Lawyers Association was a resounding suc- Women In Law Association expressed their gratitude to
cess and demonstrated how much women lawyers the RAMSI Law & Justice Program for funding the set-
have to offer and can assist other women in under- ting up of their Joint Secretariat with SIBA.
standing the law, legal processes and their legal
rights. Our office is on the third floor of the Placemakers Build-
ing opposite the Main Market.

A big thank you to all the women lawyers who pre- Take the stairs up from the Public Solicitors Office and
pared presentations and delivered these at the drop by to say hello!
workshop, especially to Mirriam Lidimani for step-
ping into the role of convener and ensuring the
workshop ran smoothly and professionally. The As-
sociation would also like to thank Sister Doreen for
identifying the need for the workshop, Tania Herbert
from the Christian Care Centre for assisting with the
organisation, the RAMSI Law and Justice Program
for sponsoring the workshop, and all the participants
who attended the workshop.

The Pioneering Executive of the

Women Lawyers Association 2007
(Left to right, back to front) Gabrielle.Brown.,Florrie

June Maru in the Joint Secretariat Office

Women in Law Association is available to

assist by formal arrangement any request for
legal awareness raising, on issues affecting
women, children, families and young people.
Second meeting of the initial WILA 2007 Those who are interested in receiving legal
awareness sessions are required to contact us
Alalo, Amelia.Pasikala.Fa’asau,Nuatali Tongarutu, by formal letter stating what organization or
Sophia Munamua, Anika Kingmele, Jean Gordon, Mi-
group you represent and specify your area of
chelle Gardiner, Miriam Lidimani………..These are the
women who started the Women in Law Association to interest.
cater for Female lawyers in the country.
You can send your letters to PO Box 1925 or
WILA have new secretariat. email us at womeninlaw@solomon.com.sb or
The Women In Law Association of Solomon Islands call Phone: 23399 for any further inquiries.
has recently established a Secretariat office in col-
laboration with the Solomon Islands Bar Association

Quarterly Focus
Page 6


Contributed by,
Lisa Rebiara Horiwapu from Vois Blong Mere.


I was the high school girl who rarely speaks but famously smiles. Very tiny in body
size that anybody who sees me knows very well I am physically fragile...Please ex-
cuse yourself when you pass me by, you might make me fall if I don't see you in
I became a mother, very loving to my little children and struggled with them to make
ends meet. I was like any loving woman, sure sometimes I make mistakes,
but getting up early in the mornings to prepare breakfast on the table, working up
until late just to make sure the kids were okay for the night. I speak very quietly and
smiles very beautifully whenever I meet someone I know. I am giving all my love to
all I love, what more do you want?
Am I that aggressive? Why do I have to go through the rough path that is not sup-
pose to be ours? Why take my life when I still want to live and see my children grow
up and become what the Almighty wants them to become? It is my dream to see my
children grow up healthy both in body and soul. I prayed every night just for the
Good Lord to let me live for everyone I love.
To women of Solomon Islands, life is full of mystery. Just for one second watch
your step and where you are going. You might be on the rough path but have not
raised your voice. Domestic violence is out of the agenda.
To my fellow country
men, little and vulner- Contributions to this newsletter are most
able as I am, like it or welcome!! Write an article! Send us a letter! Or a
not I am the mother of
our beloved nation. Re- photo! Please send your contributions to June
spect my differences Maru at womeninlaw@solomon.com.sb or to
and understand me for
who I am and most of Women In Law Association PO Box 1925 Honiara,
all take care of we can then include your contribution in our next

Page 7

Women Lawyers in Solomon Islands

This form is for all women Lawyers in the country who are members and those who are not members, this is to
up-date our database of the number of female legal professionals in the country. So we do not miss you out for
important notices ie for Annual General Meeting or Social functions.


The extract below from our Constitution outlines who is eligible for membership to the Associa-

Full Membership

5.1 The following women may apply for full membership of the Association:

5.1.1 those who have been admitted as a legal practitioner of the High Court of Solomon
Islands and who remain on the roll;

5.1.2 those entitled to practise as a legal practitioner in Solomon Islands because they
hold an appointment or office in the service of the Government for which a legal
qualification is required;

5.1.3 women law graduates in Solomon Islands; and

5.1.4 women judicial officers in Solomon Islands.

Associate Membership

5.2 Apart from members who are eligible under clause 5.1, the following may apply for asso-
ciate membership of the Association:

5.2.1 women law students in Solomon Islands;

5.2.2 women law students from Solomon Islands studying at any university; and

5.2.3 women police prosecutors in Solomon Islands.

5.3 Associate members may attend but shall not be entitled to vote at Annual
General Meetings or Special General Meetings of the Association.

5.4 Associate members shall not be eligible to hold a position on the Executive Committee.
Good news for new Graduates
membership has just been discounted
to only $20.00 for you, become a
Page 8
member today!!!!
Membership Form

Membership Category
Annual fee

(valid until end of next AGM)

Full Member (other than government employee)


Full Member (government employee)


Associate Member



I have read and agree with the stated objects of WILASI, wish to become a member of WILASI, and
enclose the relevant annual fee.

Practice Area: Please specify your 3 main areas of practice or interest e.g. commercial, criminal


Signature_________________________________ Date_______________________

Women in Law Association

of Solomon Islands


Email is our preferred method of contact with members as it is both timely and cost effective)

Practice type (this information is confidential and will assist WILASI to represent you effectively):

Solicitor: Employed Government Partner Corporate Sole Practitioner


Judicial: Judge Magistrate Registrar Tribunal

Other: Academic Student Police Prosecutor Judges Associate

Employed: Full-time Part-time Not employed


Page 9

Membership Form

Employed:Full-time Part-time Not employed

Membership Category Annual fee

(valid until end of next AGM)

 Full Member (other than government employee) $100
 Full Member (government employee) $50
 Associate Member $35

3.1 The objects of the Association are:

3.1.1 to work towards equal opportunity and the advancement of women in the study and practice of
3.1.2 to promote the rule of law and the principles of good governance;
3.1.3 to further the understanding of and support for the legal and human rights of women;
3.1.4 to work for the reform of the law and its administration, and for the advancement of social pol-
icy, in order to promote and protect the legal interests of women;
3.1.5 to promote the participation of WILASI members in decision making processes;
3.1.6 to provide a common meeting ground for WILASI members and facilitate social interaction
amongst members;
3.1.7 to work in partnership with other legal and non-legal professionals as well as other groups to
advance, promote and protect women's interests;
3.1.8 to facilitate the enhancement of the legal skills and professional development of its members
and access to legal information;
3.1.9 to affiliate with and maintain connections with the national and international associations with
similar or relevant objectives;
3.1.10 to promote the recognition and support of the Association’s aims and objectives by government
agencies, private sector organisations, regional and international bodies and the public at
3.1.11 to do all other things incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Association;
3.1.12 such other objects as the Association shall in General Meeting from time to time decide.

Be part of the growth and development of the Women In Law Association of

Solomon Islands. Become a member today! Fill out this form and submit to the
Joint Secretariat Office 3rd Floor Placemakers Building, if you have any queries
please do not hesitate to ask June Maru on phone: 23399 or email women-

WOMEN LAWYERS Contact us anytime you wish to

SOLOMON ISLANDS make an enquiry, you are most
Women In Law Solomon Islands
PO Box 1925
Solomon Islands
Phone: 677 23399
Fax: 677 28409
E-mail: womeninlaw@solomon.com.sb

WILA congratulates the three new

members elected to the Solomon Islands
Bar Association in Executive posi-
tions.— , Ms
Miriam Tafoa,
Ms Constance
Hemmer and
Ms Kathleen

Links to other Women’s Legal Societies.

Fiji Women Lawyers Association:http://fiji-women-lawyers0.tripod.com/index.html

New Zealand Law Society’s Women’s Consultation Group: http://www.nz-lawsoc.org.nz/wcg/indexframe.htm

Wellington Women Lawyers Association: www.wwla.org.nz

Australian Women Lawyers: www.womenlawyers.org.au

Women Lawyers Association of New South Wales:www.womenlawyersnsw.org.au I swore never to be silent

Victorian Women Lawyers: www.vwl.asn.au/ whenever human beings
Women Lawyers Association of Queensland: www.womenlawyersqld.com.au
endure suffering and hu-
miliation. We must always
Tasmanian Women Lawyers Association: http://tasmanianwomenlawyers.trump.net.au/
take sides. Neutrality helps
National Women Justice Coalition: www.nwjc.org.au/
the oppressor, never the
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development: www.apwld.org victims. Silence encourages
European Women Lawyers’ Association:www.ewla.org the tormentor, never the
Mega site for Women Lawyers Associations: www.ewla.org/wf_content/23.html tormented.