NATION

Day To Celebrate, Acknowledge Women With Different Abilities

Mrs Vuniwaqa believes that empowering women and girls was the only way to protect their rights and assisting them realize their full potential.
08 Mar 2020 10:29
Day To Celebrate, Acknowledge Women With Different Abilities
Minister for Women, Children & Poverty alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (with garland) during the International Day for Women with Disabilities programme at the Vodafone Gymnasium on February 28, 2020.

We need to identify, nurture and encourage the inherent potential and capabilities that each person possess.

This was a reminder from the Minister for Women, Children & Poverty alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa during the International Day for Women with Disabilities at the Vodafone Gymnasium on Friday.

Mrs Vuniwaqa believes that empowering women and girls was the only way to protect their rights and assisting them realize their full potential.

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

“When I speak of rights of women and girls, I mean all women and girls, including those who are living with disabilities – or rather women with different abilities,” she said.

“The battle to achieve self-respect and self-acceptance for women, whether they have disabilities or not, is an ongoing one for all those who care about the basic human and individual right of all people to live their lives to their fullest capacity, unencumbered by the unjust and discriminatory limitations imposed by others.

“As per the most recent census data, 13.7 per cent of our population is living with at least one functioning challenge, both males and females.

“While the Fijian Government with the help of disability organisations strives to ensure equality for all, ignorance and arrogance have worked simultaneously to keep people with disabilities out of various markets, client and customer groups and other aspects of community.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the combination of being a woman and being disabled can inspire a vast range of prejudices and ignorance.

“Although men and women with disabilities are subject to various kinds of discrimination because of their disabilities, women with disabilities are at a further disadvantage because of the combined discrimination based on gender stereotypes and assumed roles and this is something we will continue to address through our gender equality initiatives.

“There are all too many issues that affect women with disabilities exclusively or affect them to a greater degree than men with disabilities, including sexual reproductive health education and services, financial hardship and poverty; parenting rights; and gender based and domestic violence.

“This International Women’s Day, and as my Ministry embarks on new gender equality initiatives like the Country Gender Assessment, the Gender Transformative Institutional Capacity development, and the National Action Plan on the Prevention of Violence against women and girls, I pledge that the interest of women with disabilities will remain a priority in all our gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives.

“While Government is doing what it can to ensure persons living with disabilities have a fair chance at life, it is up to us as family units, as communities, and as individuals to change the way we treat people with disabilities.

“We need to identify, nurture and encourage the inherent potential and capabilities that each person has.

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