Fiji - [Women encouraged to] Run for elections

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17 February 2011

THE Ministry for Women has encouraged women who want to contest in the next elections to work hard now to convince the voters to vote for them in 2014.  Minister of Women Doctor Jiko Luveni made the statement at the opening of a two-day consultation on the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at Novotel in Lami on Tuesday.

Dr Luveni said Fiji presented its report to the CEDAW Committee in July last year and the committee had requested Fiji to provide written information on the steps taken to implement recommendation which dealt with steps taken to adopt a new Constitution through a collaborative process involving the full participation of women.  She said Fiji's Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (RDSSED) 2009 to 2014 provided the way forward reflecting Government's commitment to gender equality, occupational discrimination and gender segregation.

Dr Luveni said the Roadmap articulates Government's commitment in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the rural communities.  She said the Ministry for Women was ready to provide help to women who intended to stand in the 2014 elections in Fiji.  Dr Luveni said one of the 12 key performance indicators in the RDSSED, 2009-2014 for achieving the goal of gender equality and empowerment of women through full participation in business and decision making process is to ensure that the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament and municipal elections should not be less than 20 per cent.

"In the 2006 elections, only 11 per cent of members of parliament were women," she said.

According to Dr Luveni Pillar 3 of the People's Charter for Change stated that one of the key measures and actions necessary for the way forward in ensuring effective, enlightened and accountable leadership was to enhance, support and secure the participation of women leaders at all levels of decision making.  Dr Luveni said the CEDAW committee welcomed Fiji's report on the new laws and decrees that were in line with the provision of the convention that have been promulgated.

"Secondly, it also welcomed the Women's Plan of Action (2010-2019) addressing the State's commitment to the advancement of women and thirdly, the construction of women centers in Provinces and semi-urban settlements that will enhance capacity building initiatives," she said.

[Fiji Times - Monika Singh]

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