Opinion

Analysis: National Women’s Expo Gets Better Every Year

The National Women’s Expo is more than just an expo. It creates a platform that embodies all things about women. The expo primarily offers Fijian women business and economic empowerment.
22 Jun 2018 12:30
Analysis: National Women’s Expo Gets Better Every Year
Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni delilvered her keynote address while launching the 2018 National Women's Expo at FMF Gymnasium in Suva, on June 21, 2018. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The National Women’s Expo is more than just an expo.

It creates a platform that embodies all things about women.

The expo primarily offers Fijian women business and economic empowerment.

It opens their eyes to opportunities out there that they can use to develop and expand their talents.

Never before have our women been exposed to such a forum that allows them to express themselves in art and craft and earn cash at the same time.

As the expo continues to grow in status, so does the confidence of our women.

It becomes a symbol of women power – to be equal participants and partners in national development.

Women have broken the shackles that bind them to negative cultural traditions and practices that restrict their personal and professional development.

They now enjoy equal rights as men and cannot be discriminated on the basis of sex and gender.

While there is some pocket resistance to this cultural and social revolution the tides of change sweeping our communities from the urban centres to the rural and maritime zones is unstoppable.

It is underpinned by the provisions of our 2013 Constitution that champion equality.

It marks a new era in the gradual liberation of our women to become equal partners in our social and economic progress.

In this new journey our budding women entrepreneurs need all the help they can get to succeed.

The Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, has highlighted that the women need necessary information and tools to effectively operate their business.

Women need information on consumer rights and fair trading.

“If we want to boost small scale women entrepreneurship, we have to acknowledge the fact that they need to be equipped with updated data on the market,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

“We need to create appropriate frameworks that can offer support, guidance, and tools to allow them to take the risks of entrepreneurship.”

Women also need to know and understand their rights and responsibilities.

“I hope to see more women from your communities gain from your success stories and venture into translating their skills and dreams into actual business undertakings.”

“Today we are not only gathered here to recognise your contribution towards your family, your community or village, your province and to the nation as a whole, but to also bank on the opportunity of you being here in Suva to provide an additional avenue for your development.”

The training by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission [FCCC] and the Westpac Bank on Economic Sector will go a long way in helping the women chosen to attend the training become prepared to take advantage of the available opportunities.

It is great to see the Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni, who pioneered the expo when she was women’s minister, continue to support the expo.

There was  a buzz when Opposition leader, Na Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi (Paramount Chief of Rewa Province and Burebasaga Confederacy), Ro Teimumu Kepa, arrived at the expo.

She praised the expo and recognised the creativity and innovation of the participants. Her support of the expo has given the participants a boost.

Those who need a special mention are the first timers to the expo and the groups who have travelled from the rural and maritime areas.

When the expo ends tomorrow, all the women involved should be recognised for a venture that continues to get better every year.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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