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‘We Can No Longer Afford To Let Our Women Fishers Remain Invisible’

‘We Can No Longer Afford To Let Our Women Fishers Remain Invisible’
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa (left), and Women in Fisheries Network-Fiji chairperson, Milika Sobey. Photo: Swashna Chand
December 05
11:16 2018

Women in Fiji, are increasingly moving away from traditionally defined areas of fisheries partici­pation and are taking on commercial and post-harvest activities, and setting up small-scale businesses.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa at the Women in Fish­eries Forum at Paradiso Bistro in Suva yes­terday.

Ms Vuniwaqa said it was a common sight at any of the local municipal and roadside markets to see women engaging in seafood marketing activities, where they sell their products to a wide range of consumers for domestic and commercial use.

“Women fishers are still expected to fulfill their traditional duties and obligations, ob­viously because of the lack of recognition of their trade as a form of economic activ­ity, while having to keep up with modern market economy demands,” the minister said.

“It is important to understand the gender dimensions of fisheries as women make enormous contributions to fisheries and aquaculture supply chains that are almost unrecognised.

“We can no longer afford to let our women fishers remain invisible and I am extremely happy that organisations like the Women in Fisheries Network-Fiji are taking great strides in making the women fishers visible in our nation.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said that Government also supported the industry in the diversifica­tion of export markets, trade facilitation, product research and development, condu­cive fiscal and tax environment and infra­structure.

“The challenge at hand is creating equal opportunities for men and women who are employed formally and informally in this industry,” she said.

“Government will provide equal opportu­nities for all, including the participation of women in education, leadership, and over­all economic development, and will contin­ue its strong efforts to eliminate violence against women.

“The goal of the Ministry of Fisheries had initially been for the Women in Fisher­ies Network-Fiji in partnership with other agencies to establish a system of data col­lecting, information management and access to services on women in fisheries activities to effectively inform policies, pro­grammes and allocate resources towards women in fisheries and development.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: swashna.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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