World Bank Gender Report launch reflects on Pacific women's political participation

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31 March 2012

GENDER inequality still exists in our communities despite continued efforts to address the issue.  This was heard at a panel discussion at the University of the South Pacific earlier in the week which also witnessed the launch of the 2012 report on gender and development.

"Gender gaps still exist today and in particular in the Pacific, even though a lot of the countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) about 15 to 20 years ago," said the regional programmer for United Nations Women, Elzira Sagynbaeva.  Ms Sagynbaeva said Fiji's committed to the international treaty but was yet to align its national policies to the requirements of the treaty. "One example of non-compliance is the lack of women's political participation across the Pacific," she said.

"There is very low level of participation of women in parliament."  Women make up only about three per cent of parliament compared to the world's average of 15 per cent. The Fiji Women's Rights Movement is, however, working at bridging the gender gaps, said the organisation's communications officer, Tara Chetty.  AusAID's gender adviser, Susan Ferguson, said it was important to create initiatives to break traditional barriers of equality between the two genders.

[Fiji Times - Serelisoni Moceica]

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