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EDITORIAL: Female Pioneers In RFMF Set Platform, Inspire Women To Join Force

EDITORIAL: Female Pioneers In RFMF Set Platform, Inspire Women To Join Force
The late Major Amelia Tadu
August 31
12:10 2018

As the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) fraternity farewelled one of their own, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the contribution of our women soldiers not only at home, but also in the international arena.

Women like the late Major Amelia Dauniveiqaravi Tadu are glass ceiling breakers. Thirty years ago, she was one of seven pioneers of female commissioned officers in the RFMF. Out of the seven, two have since died while three are still on active duty. They include Colonel Litea Seruiratu, Chief of Staff Land Force Command Silipa Druavesi Vananalagi and Chief Staff Officer Welfare Major Laisani Kinikini.

Non-active are Amele Tabuya (Mrs Tarakinikini) and Karalaini Naruma (Mrs Serevi).

These seven women were groundbreakers in a male-dominated institution. They were not assessed any differently from their male colleagues. Yet they pushed on and today recent figures show the RFMF boasts  139 women soldiers in the Regular Force and 325 in the Territorial Force.

RFMF Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto had highlighted during the UN Peacekeeping symposium in June that the intake of females into the Regular Force in 2015 had increased by 30 per cent while male increased by seven per cent. But the overall aim of the RFMF is to further increase the female ration of the Regular Force by 2020.

Recent statistics show the following:

Regular Force – 139 females – 3457 male

Territorial Force – 325 females – 4144 male

The increase in female intake is to support the RFMF peacekeeping objectives – to increase from the current four per cent (38 out of 798) to seven per cent of all contingent personnel to be female by 2020.

This is to meet the critical role women play in peace building efforts under the blue helmet around the world.

A glimpse at how far the RFMF has advanced in terms of gender equality in the workplace can be attributed to the sacrifice of the seven female pioneers.

Credit to the leadership at the time, they have set the standard others within the Force have to meet or improve.

They are certainly an inspiration to countless young women who have set their minds towards a military career. It is no easy feat for a young Fijian woman. But with the organisational reforms in place, the RFMF should be able to achieve its target of females in the Regular Force by 2020.

For the likes of the late Major Tadu, adhering to standards is what will propel any soldier further. A timely reminder yesterday as hundreds gathered to bid her farewell.



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