The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the role of women
leaders in ensuring markets continue to operate to support women’s livelihoods and food security for communities.

Women market vendors, market management, representatives
from the Governments of Fiji and Australia, and UN Women came together today to highlight the role of women’s leadership in local government and market spaces in Fiji, while commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8.

The theme for IWD 2021 is Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Women leaders and women’s organizations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge, and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

Today there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives, and skills to the table, and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all.

The impact of women’s leadership was evident in the marketspaces during the onset of COVID-19. Market Vendor Association (MVA) women leaders worked long hours and beyond their brief, to ensure representation in decision-making processes.

The MVAs ensured women’s voices and concerns were heard in national dialogue spaces. In delivering her address, the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development Hon. Premila Kumar stated that it was important to recognise and acknowledge women leaders in our community.

β€œToday we recognise women leaders at all levels and we have some amazing leaders in the market vendor associations who have stood strong together with the municipal councils in preparing markets to be safe spaces to continue to support local economic development in the face of COVID 19. They continued to advocate and play an important role in planning
and decision making for their members,” said Hon. Kumar.

The Minister added that women also played a crucial role at the Local Government level.

β€œIn 2019, my Ministry appointed Teams of Special Administrators that consisted of 12
women out of the 28 Special Administrators appointed. These are successful
businesswomen and with vast experience in various areas such as high-level governance,
project management, finance management, corporate services, SME mentoring, human
resource development and legal expertise.”
β€œIn addition, I would also like to highlight that there is an increase in the number of women
appointed as Chief Executive Officers for the Municipal Councils. The appointments saw an
increase in the number of women in leadership in Local Government compared to the past
years,” the Minister stated.

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