“The amplification of women’s voices and in particular marginalized women is critical for the fulfilment of our development agenda. We all know that women bring a different perspective to the table but what good would that perspective be if there were no mechanism to hear about it.”
This was message by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa while officiating at the 2019 National Convening of the Rural Women Leader’s Community Media Network held in Suva.
Minister Vuniwaqa said the strengthening of a vibrant women-led community media network in the West and North, and the possibility of reaching out to other districts in the Central and possibly the East, is commendable.
“An increased availability of media content from rural areas, produced by both young and older women, or representatives of our disability bodies, brings to the fore, key grounded and deep-seated issues.”
“For decades, violence against women in Fiji has always been seen as a private matter – thriving in a shroud of silence within the four walls of a home.”
Minister Vuniwaqa highlighted implementation of legal reforms, policies and programs which sought to amplify the voice of women changed the dynamics of domestic violence and for the first time gave us a true picture of the cancer that it had become.
“We need yours and all our voices amplified to make transformative change and to progress commitments in the priority sectors for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
“The Pacific region on its own has some of the highest rates of violence against women recorded in the world, and as the UN and other donor partners have documented – an estimated 2 in every 3 Pacific women are impacted by GBV.”
PM Bainimarama commended the participation of women leaders from around the country and highlighted that this convening will also draw particular attention to the root causes of violence experienced by women and girls, through the use of appropriate and accessible media.
“These would also mean the amplifying of prevention strategies and the localising of women’s human rights.”
The three-day event that is hosted by FemLink Pacific and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement with other development partners hopes to strengthen women-led community media network in Fiji as the heart of amplifying voices of rural women and ending violence against women.