The Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has strengthened ties with stakeholders in recognition of the fact that gender is a crosscutting issue and requires partnerships to counter inequality and discrimination.
While officiating at the Transformation International Fiji’s 3rd Conference for Women on the Frontline in Lautoka today, Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa reaffirmed the Fijian Government’s commitment to empowering women.
“The 2013 Constitution guarantees equal rights to all Fijians including women, with the political will of the Government reflected in its international obligations like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the consistently increasing budgets towards the National Women’s Machinery to implement objectives of the Convention.”
Minister Vuniwaqa highlighted that for the first time, gender has been formally incorporated into the Government’s five year and 20 year National Development Plan, which seeks to empower women to reach their full development potential.
“The National Gender Policy complements this aim of promoting gender equality in all aspects of development in Fiji by eradicating institutional and social barriers to equality.”
The Ministry also continues to promote women’s economic participation by supporting women-led income-generating projects and aims to eliminate violence against women and children via ministerial programs.
“With Government doing its part in the form of policy making and government funded programs for women’s development, I wish to reiterate at this juncture the important role that faith-based organizations play in women’s empowerment.”
“Faith actors are critical in dismantling structures and practices that promote inequality; and as women of faith, we must work for women’s empowerment,” Minister Vuniwaqa added.
The three-day conference has gathered women from around the country and the Gold Coast, Australia at the RSL Ex-Serviceman Club for a series of programs and stalls selling handicraft, knitwear and stationary.