NEWS

Women’s Votes Hold Power To Positively Change Women’s Representation: MP Qereqeretabua

“We are just hoping that this networking and meeting will inspire some women to hopefully put their hands up for national office,” she said.
20 May 2022 12:18
Women’s Votes Hold Power To Positively Change Women’s Representation: MP Qereqeretabua
Female MP’s with participants of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Mentoring Workshop for Aspiring Women Politicians in Labasa on May 18, 2022. Photo: Sampras Anand

Women’s votes hold power to influence change and could potentially help increase the number of women politicians in the Fijian Parliament.

The 2022 General Election presents the perfect opportunity, said Opposition Member of Parliament, Lenora Qereqeretabua.

She said women still represented a small fraction of the total number of parliamentarians in the country.

She made these comments during the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association-funded Mentoring Workshop for Aspiring Women Politicians at the Labasa Civic Centre on Wednesday.

She said 11 out of the 55 parliamentarians were women who just represented around 20 per cent of the available seats.

She said Parliament was supposed to be equally representative of both genders in the country.

Similar workshops were held in Labasa, Nadi and Suva.

“We are just hoping that this networking and meeting will inspire some women to hopefully put their hands up for national office,” she said.

Ms Qereqeretabua was impressed that more than 70 women attended the workshop.

“I would really like the women voters to seriously consider voting for a woman in the Election,” she said.

Ms Qereqeretabua said it was not just a case where gender voting was being encouraged but because the women parliamentarians would be the perfect person to represent the interests of women in their various areas.

“It is important that as we increase the number of women in parliament, it is also important that we give women the voice in the House of Representatives,” she indicated.

She was firm about her allegiance regarding  staying and contesting under the National Federation Party banner.

 

Participants inspired to vote for women

A participant, Emele Saufa’asi, said the workshop provided her with some facts and an understanding of the basics of the political circles.

The first-year Political studies and Journalism student from the University of the South Pacific (USP) said she was able to relate and build up her confidence from the struggles and experiences encountered by women parliamentarians.

“I was inspired by the life of Lenora Qereqeretabua especially because she was ‘trolled’ while being a woman parliamentarian,”

Another participant, Mareta Tagivakatini, who is also the Labasa Market Vendors Association President, said it was a beneficial workshop for her.

She said it empowers women already in parliament by participating in workshops like this and this also gave us a chance to experience their life of being politicians.

She added if Elections were held tomorrow, she would opt to vote for a female candidate.

“Our voice will be heard high if we have more of our representatives in Parliament,” she added.

 

Partnership vital in elections

Ms Qereqeretabua said their partnership with the People Alliance (PA) party would be crucial in forming Government during the election period.

“The leader of both the People Alliance and NFP have a long-standing relationship and we intend to make this relationship ever-growing,” she reiterated.

She encouraged all citizens in the country to get registered and play a part in the voting process and in deciding their next Government.

Ms Qereqeretabua returned to Suva on Wednesday after a short visit to Labasa and Savusavu.
 sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj

 



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