FIJI NEWS

Women share concerns no clear-cut policies for aspiring women candidates

ZAFIYA SHAMIM SUVA There are concerns that some aspiring women candidates wishing to stand in the upcoming elections are being forced to take early unpaid leave. Particularly those who work
10 Mar 2014 11:35

Taufa Vakatale at the Fiji Museum on Saturday. Photo: Aqela Susu

ZAFIYA SHAMIM
SUVA


There are concerns that some aspiring women candidates wishing to stand in the upcoming elections are being forced to take early unpaid leave. Particularly those who work for non-governmental organisations who don’t have clear-cut policies regarding an employee who wished to run in an election.
Some NGO’s have a policy that states that only when a person is accepted as a candidate then they have to go on leave if they want to participate in the upcoming elections.
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) for instance has a policy that requires a standing down period once it is clear that a staff member intends to stand in an election, in order to avoid the perception of political bias.
Roshika Deo, a former team leader with the movement was forced to resign late last year after making her intentions known. Ms Deo is vying for a seat in Parliament as an independent candidate. She has yet to comment on the issue but the manner of her departure has sparked controversy among women’s rights advocates. National Council of Women Fiji (NCWF) general secretary Fay Volatabu said they were concerned but were limited in what they could do.
“We cannot do much since it’s their organisations’ policy – but we can only hope that they are given the same position back in the organisation if they are unsuccessful,” Ms Volatabu said.
“We understand that it is very hard to survive with unpaid leave before elections or before the electoral laws were out or before a person submitted their nomination.”
She said they aimed to increase the representation of women in Parliament, administrative boards and councils in Fiji.
NCWF are involved in various civic education projects for the raising of awareness of women’s organisations and women in the community on elections, voter rights.
“We must allow more opportunities for women to lead and play critical roles in development in all levels of society.”
She said women had a unique sense of leadership and we should build on the lessons learned and the knowledge that equality for women was progress for all to make greater and bolder progress.
“We can only hope that the women candidates can go back to their respected leadership roles if they were unsuccessful,” Ms Volatabu said.
Feedback: zafiya.shamim@fijisun.com.fj




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