VODAFONE'S Miss Hibiscus Queen contestant Genevieve Sukhdeo believes pageants still hold a place in society because of the platforms they provide for addressing issues.
Speaking to The Fiji Times, the 25-year-old Miss Fiji Broadcasting Corporation said previous queens had proven this by their participation in the pageant.
"I really hope to touch as many lives as possible not just because I'm the weather presenter or Miss FBC but through the simple things such as common courtesy for everyone from my fellow queens to the public at large," Ms Sukhdeo said.
The Lautoka-raised girl said she had an interest in advocating for women's rights, adding she felt Fiji had come a long way from an extremely patriarchal era but there was still more to be done.
"As such, I will be standing for the progress of gender equality. I believe this MDG is relevant for our Pacific region because women are traditionally seen as the homemaker or child carer.
"Studies also indicate that when a woman has access to financial services and employment, the lifespan of her child increases by about 20 per cent.
"This is the link between my advocacy and the theme for Hibiscus 2012 of 'Snap out of it — take control of your life' overcoming non-communicable diseases in Fiji," she added.
Having been raised in Lautoka, Ms Sukhdeo said the experience of living in Suva had opened her eyes to her true calling — advocacy.
"I want to be a part of that because if there's one thing maturity has taught me, it's that we are all interconnected and serve a greater purpose.
"I feel I have found mine."