NATION

RESET Fiji: ‘When Women Lead And Thrive, The Entire Vanua Will Thrive’

Says Rise Beyond the Reef co-founder Semi Lotawa, speaking on the issue of Gender Equality on Mai TV’s Reset Fiji last night
20 Jul 2020 09:28
RESET Fiji: ‘When Women Lead And Thrive, The Entire Vanua Will Thrive’
From left: Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali, Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation chief executive officer Kameli Batiweti and business owner Kim Beddoes during Mai TV’s RESET Fiji panel discussion on Gender Equality.

When women lead and thrive, the entire vanua will thrive, says Rise Beyond the Reef co-founder Semi Lotawa.

He was speaking on the issue of Gender Equality on Mai TV’s Reset Fiji last night, where he said in order to shift gender dynamics in Fijian communities post COVID-19, tools were needed to leverage the change.

He said it was important for men to champion those transformational changes to shift dynamics of harmful norms.

“A workshop alone doesn’t change dynamics. There are many platforms to stand on and for us we have chosen economic development for women,” Mr Lotawa said.

“Dynamics needs to change because it gets to the hearts of women to meet their needs, manifest their vision and encourage their voice and choice.”

This, he said, was long term work because trust needed to be built.

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation chief executive officer, Kameli Batiweti, said studies had shown that companies that didn’t engage women as leaders became less productive and less innovative.

“It is also interesting to note that in universities in Fiji, a lot of graduates are women, yet less women are participating in the workforce in the country,” he said.

“Companies that disregard women are doing it at their own cost.”

Business owner Kim Beddoes said it was important for business owners to receive the right support and empathy in order to survive during the pandemic, creating employment opportunities for its employees.

“To be empowered, women and girls need employment, we the businesses need support so that when we can survive,” she said.

“When we survive with the right support, we provide employment and support for these women in the country.”

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali said 64 per cent of women in Fiji had experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence at the hands of their intimate partner.

She said there was a need for everyone to adopt the feminist human rights approach and strategies.

Fiji Women Rights Movement executive director, Nalini Singh, said to ensure that COVID-19 recovery efforts were responsive and effective, it was important that issues were addressed by listening with intent.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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