NGOs Applaud Work to Empower Women

Photo: Fiji Times
Government’s commitment to empower women in Fiji through the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has seen a national consultation held in February this year between government agencies, Non-Government Organization (NGO’s), Faith Based Organization (FBO’s) with collaborative approach taken to implement recommendations outlined in UN CEDAW Concluding Remarks.

Fiji is the first country in Pacific Island Region to have ratified CEDAW in 1995 and after every four years as required under CEDAW commitment, it has to submit its progress report to UNCEDAW Committee. Last year in July, Fiji presented its 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the 46th Session of the Constructive Dialogue in New York City. Pertaining this session, UN CEDAW Committee provided Concluding Remarks which are simply recommendations to steadfast women empowerment.

Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the Government has now embarked on divisional consultations, through which numerous stakeholders will gather to discuss on the implementation of the priority areas of CEDAW derived through the national consultations.  

The Ministry has once again partnered with UN Women and the Pacific Regional Human Rights Education Resource Team (RRRT) to facilitate the divisional consultations in the Western, Eastern, Northern and Central Divisions.

The first divisional consultations took place in Lautoka last week and beginning of this week Nausori hosted the CEDAW consultations for the central division and next week the consultations in the Northern division will follow.

Dr Luveni said these consultations will raise the level of awareness at grassroots level and it will collate a forum where the district and community stakeholders will identify the strategies to elevate the status of women in their respective communities.

“After the divisional consultations we hope that respective agencies will take the message to their own organizations, communities and villages. Through these consultations NGO’s will be updated on Fiji’s status on CEDAW, it will also raise awareness on Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Decree,” she said.

Adi Asenaca Kakua Mara, President of Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Lau while speaking at Eastern Division consultations at parliament complex today said the consultations will motivate frontline service providers to work together with the communities in implementing the priority areas of CEDAW.

“I speak on behalf of Lau women, that we are very grateful for this opportunity and discussions on CEDAW. Now, the representatives from Eastern Division will have a better understanding about CEDAW, and for the first time awareness has been carried out at community level,” she said.

Makereta Draunibaka tikina representative of Nayau, Lau said the divisional consultations give recognition for the need to strengthen the links for greater women participation in politics and economic development.

“For the first time we have developed a strategic plan for economic empowerment of women in Lau. This consultation would further complement our plans, after this meeting we will have a fair idea, which directions to pursue in terms of fostering gender equality through CEDAW,” Mrs Draunibaka said. 

Source: (Thursday 15th September 2011, No:1781/MWSW)NGO’S APPLAUD CEDAW AWARENESS 


Hypocrisy wears a female face said…
No comment yet about the impending "empowerment of women"? That is because it is still noticeably absent. The Women Parliamentarians of the Pacific Conference held at Fiji Mocambo Hotel in March 2000 never delivered on the goods. Now why IS that? Plenty of 'worthy' female-focused NGOs, plenty of Pacific Parliamentarians who made promises. None of them were delivered upon. Save the odd drawn out perambulation of various women around the region wasting Australian and New Zealand taxpayer-derived funds - end result? Nothing much has changed. Cervical cancer and breast cancer rates high and rising. We all know someone with one or the other. Too little progress has been made and if there were serious intent for improvement, then wasteful and expensive travelling around would cease? Hypocrisy rules. Many of these hypocrites are female.
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