The President of Seychelles has called on the island nation "to celebrate women's contributions and stand up for women's rights."
In a message to commemorate International Women's Day on Friday, President Danny Faure said Seychellois are joining the rest of the world to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere and reaffirm collective commitment to gender equality.
"The theme for International Women's Day this year, "Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change", puts innovation at the center of efforts to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of technology, and access to public services and opportunities," said Faure.
The head of state said that Seychelles - a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - also recognises that women need some special protection, which is articulated through various legal frameworks.
"However, women continue to face barriers to achieving their full potential, from discrimination, to harassment and gender-based violence, to a lack of opportunity, freedom, and support," said Faure, adding that "women and girls must have opportunities to contribute to making real change, and help shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact their lives."
Faure concluded his message by calling on "all boys and men to recognize their important role as equal partners of women and girls in society."
The national airline, Air Seychelles, on Friday recognised and commended women in its workforce. "As challenges in achieving a balanced gender quality in organizations still persist globally, I am delighted that Air Seychelles have managed to maintain a more gender equal world between the men and women employed in the company," chief executive of Air Seychelles Remco Althuis said.
Several activities were organised during the course of the day for the women. On Saturday, an all-female crew will operate the Air Seychelles flight from the island nation to Mauritius. Air Seychelles employs 725 staff members of which 329 are women.
The chief executive added: "as we nurture the leaders of the future, we will continue to elevate Seychellois women to the forefront of aviation in addition to encouraging young girls planning their careers to keep breaking barriers by joining aviation fields such as pilot and engineering which are still highly dominated by men."
Jet Fleet First Officer Keryn Madeleine joined Air Seychelles in August 2006. "Up to now, I can clearly say that the opportunities I received and continue to obtain as a woman in this industry are similar to that given to the male workforce."
According to Madeleine "the airline is empowering both women and men in their job equally".
Only 7 months with the national airline, Turbo Prop Fleet First Officer, Marvel Didon said, "Air Seychelles has definitely been a dream come true because I truly feel blessed for the opportunity given in addition to being part of a company that promotes gender equality."
"As a woman, I believe the sky is the limit and the opportunities given at Air Seychelles are endless. All we have to do as a woman is to remain motivated and work hard to reap the results that we want at the end of the day," concluded Didon.