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Women in politics

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, January 23, 2014

A WOMEN'S group will start training programs to develop the necessary skills in women to enhance their participation in politics.

In a statement, the Fiji Women's Forum said the low visibility of women politicians and low number of women parliamentarians in Fiji was a challenge it hoped to change.

The forum said it would do this through a series of Women in Politics (WIP) training programs, which it says is more than just for prospective candidates.

"It is about supporting the development of the necessary skills to enhance women's participation in the democratisation process ahead of us in Fiji," said Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei general secretary Adi Finau Tabakaucoro.

The iTaukei women's group is part of the forum, which is calling for applications from across the political spectrum for its WIP training programs.

"Participants should have a working knowledge of women human rights, national gender policies and development. Because the training is more about the numbers, it is about making structural changes and dismantling the barriers which women continue to face," said the forum.

The forum will hold four training programs, including a mock parliament session, to assist women get more involved in the different levels of political decision-making.

Participants will include aspiring candidates, campaign managers and decision-makers in political parties.

Adi Finau said: "Participation would also mean you were contributing to the development of a Women in Politics training manual grounded in the values and principles of the Women's Forum which included advancing gender equality in Fiji towards the general elections in 2014.

"These training programs are designed to address the under-representation of women in various levels of political processes including in parliament."

The forum anticipates that the 30 participants selected for training would also be able to give attention to key priorities as well as peace and security.

"We are also encouraging young women, women with disabilities, women living with HIV, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, and women from ethnic minorities and other marginalised grounds," said Adi Finau.

The training program was developed in response to the series of national Women's Forum meetings in 2012 and 2013, and after a consultation in November last year.

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