"BSP has always been strong supporter of empowering our people; the most important resource in the organisation. All staff are given the opportunity to progress and develop their skills and career with BSP," said Robin Fleming, Group CEO, Bank South Pacific.
As one of the largest private sector employers in the region, BSP employs over 4,000 staff, with women making up 50% of the workforce.
This year's International Women's Day theme, an equal world is enabled world #EachforEqual, where we drive awareness that Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue and Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
In the communities and the countries that BSP operates in; our Pacific women leaders experience challenges in opinion sharing, decision making and gender balance.
Isobel Kalsrap, Team Leader Operations in Vanuatu says, "At BSP, we encourage and respect our women leaders where BSP Vanuatu has over 10 women in senior roles as head of department, managers and team leaders."
As for the community, our women are challenged due to cultural norms. While there is respect for all, I do think that with the more opportunities for women and girls in education and employment, Vanuatu has and will change the perceptions and challenge the norms to promote equality.
BSP as the leading bank in the Pacific proudly raises its hand this International Women's Day as a committed partner to work together with our People, our Leaders and our community to promote an inclusive workforce that is balanced providing equal opportunity for all staff while recognising local talent.
In Fiji, Salome Waqailiti Levula, Communications Officer, acknowledges that there are challenges in equality for women in the Pacific, however, she adds, "We're witnessing the emergence of multi-generational women leaders in Fiji and the Pacific who are influential in orchestrating change. This is in sports, in business and in social politics.
"For BSP, with the support of our management team, we have a level playing field and it is force for good. After all, an equal world is an enabled world. #EachforEqual," adds Ms Levula.
In PNG, out of the 40+ BSP branches, 22 of the branch managers are women and out of the 7 Pacific Island Countries that BSP operates in, 2 country operations are headed by female country heads, Maryann Lameko-Vaai for Samoa, and recently appointed Marcellina Wolfgramm, Country Manager for BSP Tonga. This demonstrates BSP's commitment to investing and recognising Pacific talent - in particular women in leadership.
Whilst there has always been a high proportion of female in supervisory roles and middle management the ratio reduces at senior management levels and in Executive and Senior Executive roles, where BSP has two female Executives, Nuni Kulu, General Manager- Digital and Hari Rabura, General Manager - Human Resources.
"The appointments of female executives further illustrate BSP's commitment to merit based diversity and BSP's commitment to equal opportunities for all staff," Mr Fleming added.
In commemorating International Women's Day 2020, General Manager - Digital, Nuni Kulu, said, "It takes the support of our well respected male colleagues to support gender balance, respect and the empowerment of women in an organisation like BSP."
"The composition of women in our business at front-line, managerial and executive levels serves as a testament to the value BSP places on leadership and its importance to the success of our business," said Ms Kulu.
BSP Country Head for BSP Samoa, Maryann Lameko-Vaai adds, "Today women are becoming the main hand steering businesses and the woman's role is more recognised, not only at work, but in the community. We must do better to create a safe environment and an inclusive culture that embraces gender diversity and the equal right of every staff irrespective of gender and position, to be valued and treated with respect.
Ms Lameko-Vaai adds that, women need to endeavour to be authentic, engaged and be ready to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty, as we need to work hard, and use the opportunities given to empower other women.
For BSP, a bank with strong Pacific values, we will continue to work with the community to positively influence change, at work, in the community and at home.
Maryanne in centre with team of leaders.