WOMEN’S access to justice is a daily ongoing struggle, both for themselves and for organisations who support and advocate for their access to justice.
This was the response from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre director Shamima Ali to a statement by UN Women executive director Michelle Bachelet at the United Nations headquarters in New York earlier this week.
Ms Bachelet said although there was global acknowledgement that more needed to be done for women and justice, there still wasn’t enough access to formal justice for women around the world.
Ms Ali voiced similar sentiments and said more could be done on Fiji’s part also.
“While there is progressive legislation in Fiji, the system fails them at implementation level,” she said.
“A lack of realistic in-depth gender training often results in institutions responding inappropriately to women whether it be law enforcement, judiciary, welfare or others,” she said.
Ms Ali said this may well be the result of living within a patriarchal system, bound by “traditional archaic attitudes and thinking”.
In her address Ms Bachelet said it was estimated that eight in 10 women worldwide had no access to their country’s formal justice system.
She said although the world was now acknowledging this need for its women, it must also begin its course of action.
“The world now recognises that solving our most pressing problems requires the full and equal participation of women.
“Now this recognition must be matched by action,” she said.
“We are here today to take action so the rule of law guarantees women’s equal rights, equal opportunities and equal participation.”