Where are the Women?
|Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Femlink|
Ed. note. I see no good reason why Government does not include specific references in the draft constitution to women and iTaukei land. Land may be protected in other ways, as Government says, but inclusion in the constitution would remove many fears, however unrealistic they may be. And the same may be said about specific references to promoting gender equality. -- Croz
Rural women leaders continue to voice disappointment that the Fiji Government Draft Constitution is not inclusive of the collective call from women for Temporary Special Measures to support gender equality inparliament. As 27 women leaders met in Nausori today during FemLINKPacific's monthly women's community media network consultation, they reflected on their participation in the 2012 constitution and their recommendations including 50:50 representation for women were reflected in FemLINKPacific's October 2012 submission: "Today's Nausori 1325 Rural Consultation saw women from around the Nausori/Tailevu area travel at least an hour from their homes and the common concern was amendments by the government to the inital constitution making processes was causing confusion and (political) anxiety." The women whose priorities are documented every month through FemLINKPacific's Women, Peace and Human Security reports and radio programmes which contribute to the "Here are the Women" documentation have reiterated that the government draft must also be made available in the itaukei and Hindi language. The pace of the current consultation process is not empowering and participatory and their is also uncertainty about how the Constitution will be finally adopted without a Constituent Assembly in place. These concerns have also been conveyed through FemLINKPacific's position paper on the government draft and the recent Fiji Women's Forum which included representatives from FemLINKPacific's rural community media network. Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Executive Director: FemLINKPacific (www.femlinkpacific.org.fj), M +6799244871
April 17, 2013 Nausori, Fiji