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

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Executive Director: FemLINKPacific
(www.femlinkpacific.org.fj), M +6799244871

April 17, 2013
Nausori, Fiji 


Anonymous said…
you old fart in rural palmerston north - you've always oppressed women. stop being so culturally appropriate now just 'cause some washington crowd meets your costs...
Joe said…
What is this rubbish? We are just coming out of racial polarisation, and now this? The gays will put their hand up tomorrow, youth groups the next day and student unions the day after. A perfect recipe for disaster.
Arent women equal citizens? Who cares if the parliament comprises of 100% women? or 100% men? Elected members will have a job to do regardless of gender. A dedicated ministry can take care of such issues.
Anonymous said…
Asha Lakhan for minister of womens affairs and Vir Mati her deputy, lol !!!!!!
Fair Deal for Fiji's Women 2015 said…
Women in Fiji are far from being 'an issue'. Indeed, most and much of the unheralded and unseen critical work of this country is performed by women and it is still paid less than that of men and largely goes unrecognised.

Be utterly assured: women will no longer sit quietly and accept this state of affairs. The time has arrived when a just and equitable position is to be theirs. 2015 awaits and the nations which have 'short-changed' their female citizens for so long shall be exposed.

The tests are clear. Who receives the bulk of public money and in what proportion? What power resides in the control of able women? What recognition is afforded the thousands of women who work essentially for free every day of every year? Do they have at least: Health Cover? Accident Cover (in a Scheme which is national and treats all citizens equally). The nation can well afford it. An No Fault Accident Compensation Scheme has been asked for since the late 1970s. Paltry handouts to Fiji's women will no longer 'cut the mustard'. A Constitution must recognise this and assure all women of a Fair Deal. 2015 will be the Big Test. What has been achieved specifically so far? Self-effacement will no longer do. A constitution must do the heavy-lifting for women in Fiji.

Crosbie Walsh said…
You make six accusations; old and rural are correct. The others are libelous. But that wouldn't trouble you, Anonymous.
Joe admirer said…
@ Joe. Unfair Joe. I usually agree with your comments 100% but not this one. If women don't deserve special mention, why have children got a special place in the constitution? Why have the disabled? Women have so many obstacles to even having their voices heard and half the problem is these women's rights groups like Bhagwan Rolls and Shamima Ali who only shut out the voices of ordinary women because they claim to speak for all of them. These women's groups are just a bunch of donor driven elitists who adopt the politics of their bankers and who don't want to hear the voices of the village women etc. A special mention in the constitution will help to meet the special needs of marginalised women.

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