GOVERNMENT is adamant about developing women and raising their social status to a higher level.
Speaking at the official celebration of the International Women's Day in Labasa yesterday, Minister for Women and Poverty Alleviation Doctor Jiko Luveni said government had allocated $1.1million for the development of women around the country.
"The onus is on each one of us to become resourceful and utilise our special skills that have the potential to change lives, including the lives of families, communities, villages and the nation.
"More than 800 women's groups have received two sewing machines and are making their own clothes and school uniforms today and we will add more to that figure," Dr Luveni said.
"More than 20 resource centres for women have been constructed throughout Fiji in the past two years and there are still more to come," she said.
Dr Luveni told women in the North that more than 30 communities had joined the efforts to eliminate violence against women and children and there were women who also owned poultry farms, fish farms, piggeries, bakeries, bee farms, vegetable farms and canteens.
"Government, under the People's Charter for Change is calling for effective leadership at all levels and our leaders of women's groups have reason to strengthen their leadership skills to meet the demands of their members for participation in the development process to better the livelihood of their families.
"We need the support of our men to give us the time for this participation.
"The different needs and concerns of both men and women are important to recognise and address because it is only when women and men join hands and make efforts together, will real gender equality be achieved," she added.
Dr Luveni reminded women that all had the potential to shape the future of this nation. She said such celebration had been designed to provide women with an opportunity to learn about government programs to help them venture into new economic opportunities.