With Empowerment, Melanesian Women Can Face Jealousy

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Economic opportunity alters family dynamic, men can react violently

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 24, 2014) – As some Melanesian women start to reap the benefits of economic empowerment, they're also becoming more vulnerable of falling victim to jealousy, according to the International Women's Development Agency.

The NGO is hoping to investigate this link further in partnership with the Australian National University, and is waiting on a contract to be finalised by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The IWDA's Pacific Programme Manager, Lee Fitzroy, says that with women's economic empowerment being key goals of both New Zealand and Australia's aid programmes, this link needs to be better understood and overcome.

"Sometimes women who've experience opportunities for empowerment, like access to increased skills, or knowledge, or money; that can sometimes change the power dynamics in families, and the men in families may sometimes feel threatened and they might respond to that by increasing their use of power and control and sometimes that's through violence."

Lee Fitzroy says the organisation is hoping to start their two-month-long project in May.

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