O’Neill: Women market vendors need to be respected

WOMEN who work as market vendors need to be respected and attention accorded to businesswomen.

This was the view of Lautoka Market Vendors Association secretary Filomena O’Neill.

She said most of the time there were pre-conceived ideas about women who were vendors.

“We need to change that mind-set because essentially, we are businesswomen,” she said.

Ms O’Neill said this was one of the points emphasised during a week-long training organised in Lautoka by UN Women under its Markets for Change project.

“For most vendors, there are a lot of things we don’t know.

“We learnt about gender and one of the main things we were told was about our rights.”

She said marketplaces also needed to be made safe for women.

“We know now what to do if there are instances of harassment and we know we are not to be threatened or bullied when we work.

“We have been trained how to face these situations.”

Ms O’Neill said they had also spent a lot of time creating awareness and looking at ways to change the mind-sets of rural vendors to make them more business savvy.

She said the association would hold an executive meeting next week to determine ways in which more information about financial literacy and leadership could be disseminated to the remaining members of the market.