CHANGING the mind-set of village women is the biggest obstacle in trying to empower them, says Nabila Village Womens' Association assistant president Melenaite Vuweti.
Nabila in Nadi was this week declared a zero-tolerance area for crimes against women and children by Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
Mrs Vuweti said when the village committed to the crime-free declaration early this year, the first step was to get women out of their comfort zones.
"The village has committed to this new way of life which recognises, respects and empowers women, but what we realised was that many of us were too shy to speak our mind or help in decision-making.
"But we are thankful that with the many sessions with trainers and counsellors and the support of our men, we have reached this stage."