Opinion

Our Women Trailblazers

We congratulate Colonel Litea Vulakoro Seruiratu on her promotion as a Colonel and Chief of Staff of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. She is the first woman to be
01 Feb 2016 10:01
Our Women Trailblazers
From left, Fiji Link pilot Hartene Yuen, Colonel Litea Seruiratu, Fiji FA referee Finau Vulivuli, Fiji Airways jet fleet captain Selai Saumi and Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni.

We congratulate Colonel Litea Vulakoro Seruiratu on her promotion as a Colonel and Chief of Staff of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

She is the first woman to be a Colonel and Chief of Staff.

This is a wonderful achievement that we should all be proud of. Her curriculum vitae speaks volumes of the type of person she is.

Colonel Seruiratu is strictly a professional. She has earned her stripes and she deserves where she is today. She is a trailblazer in her own rights.

It’s not easy for a woman in a high-profile position to juggle her time with her work and her role as mother of three children and wife to Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural Affairs and National Disaster Management. Mr Seruiratu was also a military officer before he joined politics. So we can reasonably assume that the similar backgrounds have helped them to overcome their personal challenges.

In the bigger picture, Colonel Seruiratu’s promotion is a celebration for all women. She is a great role model to her peers and women in general and empowers them to make a difference in life.

While the military is dominated by men, more and more women are joining it. Colonel Seruiratu is an inspiration to them.

She joins a growing list of special women who have become trailblazers.

 

Dr Jiko Luveni

Among them is Dr Jiko Luveni, the first woman Speaker of Parliament. Before that she was Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and pioneered the violence free zero tolerance community and set up crime free zones.

 

Selai Saumi

In aviation, Fiji Airways pilot Selai Saumi is the first  woman to be a Jet fleet captain. Captain Saumi joined Fiji Airways in March 2007, and was previously a First Officer on the Boeing 737 and Second Officer on the Boeing 767. Her responsibilities include teaching aircraft performance to new Boeing 737 pilots (mostly men). She is a qualified crew resource management instructor and a combined crew resource management facilitator.

 

Hartene Yuen

Hartene Yuen, 29, also made history by becoming first female captain of Fiji Link ATR aircraft. She is married and has two daughters.

Captain Yuen, like Colonel Seruiratu have proved that they can take care of their families and their jobs at the same time. They become equal partners and contributors to economic growth and prosperity.

 

Finau Vulivuli

In sports we have Finau Vulivuli, who is the first Fijian female referee to officiate in a FIFA senior event in Germany in 2011. She refereed the Nigeria–Canada match day three game in the 2011 World Cup, and she also officiated first stage games in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Under-17 World Cup.

There may be other women out there who are pioneers also.

All these women show that women can reach the top of any organisation if they are committed.

Their actions can create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more and do more. They have made these achievements with the support of their families. The Government has encouraged more women participation in the national economic life. The onus is on more families to support their women, develop and expand their professional career, so that they can achieve their goals.

While the list of women playing important roles is increasing, the fact is that we need more. That will hopefully change mindsets in some communities that still regard women as subservient to men and are sex objects.

But today we want to say that Colonel Seruiratu represents all women in the campaign for gender equality.

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