WOMEN from as far as Nadarivatu braved the rainy conditions in Lautoka City yesterday to celebrate International Women's Day.
Despite the unpredictable weather, the day was celebrated with many of the women grabbing the opportunity to show off their handiwork and meet other women from clubs in Sigatoka, Lautoka, Nadi, Ba and Tavua.
In opening the celebrations, Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki acknowledged the contribution of women in shaping the development of the west.
"Women play a fundamental role in the restoration of our homes and communities, the fostering of peace and stability and the instilling of love and forgiveness," said Cdr Cawaki.
"Therefore, it is my sincere hope and trust that you will approach gender equality with a sense of urgency and promptness to develop resolutions that will ultimately unite and enforce our multi-dimensional efforts to champion gender equality in our homes, in our communities and in our nation."
Cdr Cawaki also highlighted the importance of gender equality, saying gender bias still existed at every social stratum, even in the most developed societies.
"In some regions, patriarchal societies diminish the role of women in important matters.
"This masochist thinking has brought about a serious economic and social downfall.
"Whether you are a woman or a man, you must know that International Women's Day celebrates your liberation, had it not been for women's liberation, free thinking would still be impossible."
The theme of this year's celebrations is 'The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum'.