Fiji Women Leaders Conduct National Women’s Forum

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Consultations on political participation, especially in local governance

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 8, 2015) – Women leaders convene in Suva today to carry out national consultations on women’s participation in national democratic processes, particularly on local governance.

The three-day National Women's Forum consultation, the fifth of its kind organised by the National Council of Women Fiji, the Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and FemLINKPACIFIC, is being held at the Holiday Inn.

According to the General Secretary of the National Council of Women Fiji, Fay Volatabu, local governance has been a priority issue for the co-convenors and it is time to develop collective strategies: "That’s why we really want the local government elections to go ahead," Ms Volatabu said.

"And of course just like the national election we want 50per cent or more representation of women (but) whether the local government elections happens this year or next or whenever it happens, we are already preparing our women.

So we’ve started doing our training with women leaders.

Women leaders in the Vanua or women who are wanting to go into council elections." While the membership of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama I Taukei primarily focuses on traditional governance structures the other structures the National Parliament, municipality and rural local authorities as well as iTaukei institutions are all relevant particularly to increase women’s participation in all existing structures.

"So we’ll definitely be discussing those matters and we’ll probably have to be looking back and uh assessing how we’ve performed in those four parallel agencies, and how we might advance from our past positions in terms of getting more women to participate." The first consultation was held in April 2012.

The Fiji Women’s Forum was also catalytic in the formation of the Fiji Young Women’s Forum and young women’s participation in reflected in forum convenor’ s representation as well as the participation of representatives of the Young Women’s Forum.

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