Celebrating women dates back to the first National Women’s Day in 1909, followed by the first IWD held in 1911, but it wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations (UN) finally recognized and began celebrating IWD, encouraging more countries since then to recognize “acts of courage and resolve by ordinary women who have played an outstanding role in the history of their countries and communities.”

With over 150 participants at the 2023 Palau IWD National Forum yesterday, Wednesday, 8 March 2023, at the Palau National Gymnasium, the Honorable Vice President and Minister of Justice J. Uduch Sengebau Senior opened the event with welcoming remarks, followed by a keynote address by HE President Whipps, Jr., and special remarks by Bilung Gloria G. Salii, HE Ambassador Richelle Turner of Australia, and Chargé d’Affaires Boughner of the United States. For the third year in a row, the Office of the Vice President has partnered with other agencies to host the Forum, one that fosters dialogue and knowledge sharing on women empowerment, women in leadership and ending violence against women and girls in Palau.

Themed “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” (“Kede ngoriakl el bek el chad el kirel a beches el uldasu me a cheldechuul el melisiich er a redil er Belau”), with Palau joining the UN in its call for a safer, more inclusive and more equitable digital future, the women-led Forum convened government officials, diplomatic corps, NGOs and CSOs, students, the private sector, and even the general community in a discourse focused on leveraging digital connectivity to achieve gender empowerment and combatting online gender-based violence. This year for Palau, the Forum is a little extra special as it honored 10 Women Champions:

  • Associate Justice Honora E. Remengesau Rudimch & Police Lieutenant Rebecca Ngirngebedangel for Women Helping to End Gender-Based Violence;
  • Maria Alodia Temol (Dody’s Market) & Jayna Kasiano (SinceShorely YoursXo) for Women Entrepreneurs;
  • Dirreprak Elicita “Cita” Morei & Katarina Mad for Women Advocates of Traditional Culture;
  • Evelyn Ikelau Otto & Andrea Vereen Naivana for Women Advocates for the Youth; and
  • Sandra Sumang Pierantozzi (former Vice President and Minister) & Governor Mary Frances Remengesau Vogt for Women in Leadership (Elected).

The purple champion vases that were presented to the Women Champions were designed and donated by International Organization for Migration (IOM) Palau. Vice President and Minister of Justice Senior expresses congratulations to the 10 Women Champions and deep gratitude to all partners, participants, and individuals who made the event a great success.

Happy International Women’s Day to all women and girls!

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