100 Feminists Meet In Solidarity
Around 100 feminists gathered at the University of the South Pacific’s AusAid Lecture Theatre in Suva to take part in the opening of the first Pacific Feminist Forum in Fiji yesterday.
Michelle Reddy, acting executive director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) said: “We expected those that were present and we expected a lot more, but I think one of the things we have been trying to promote is that the opening panels for each days are open to the public and it would’ve been lovely to see a lot more of the public coming to participate.”
She believes this forum is important to Fiji as it will give people time to think and reflect on how Fiji can work towards changing its attitudes and behaviours in addressing discrimination against women and girls.
“To me, it’s a really good time for women activists or Fijian feminists to really reflect on what we have achieved and to talk about what we can achieve in the future as well with other Pacific feminists, because I think one great thing about having a forum that brings in regional participants, is there is a lot more sharing that occurs.
“There’s a lot more openness to learning more about each other and other kinds of work that we do so that when we go back to our own organisations or networks, we are better prepared and creative even in the way that we are thinking,” she said.
Ms Reddy said the forum has allowed her to see familiar faces and also to welcome the new feministsin the movement.
“I think that learning never stops and so this is going to be a really good opportunity personally to hear from other perspectives as well,” she said.
Over the next three days of the event, the sessions are designed by the working group DIVA.
FWRM, Diverse Voices and Actions for Equality, Haus of Khameleon and Pacific Young Women’s Leadership Alliance will discuss recurring issues such as climate change, climate justice, impact agreements in Fiji and the Pacific and more.
Ms Reddy said the topics in each session are based on existing and new issues that would be focused on from the Pacific perspective of internal conversations from the organisations in Fiji.
Ms Reddy said the FWRM had been dreaming of the three-day event since 2014 and was overjoyed when it officially begun.
The Woman’s Market Day also opened yesterday.
The three day forum will end today.