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Call to stomp out sexism in society to press for progress

Filipe Naigulevu
Friday, March 09, 2018

LET'S stomp out sexism to press for progress!

This was the strong message which emanated from the Women in Business (WIB) breakfast event yesterday to mark the annual International Women's Day (IWD) which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women globally.

The event, held at Suva's Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH), saw more than 150 women from the corporate, private and public sectors converging to celebrate the significant event.

WIB president Dr Nur Bano Ali said the event strongly focused on sexism, recognising that it is the primary cause of unequal treatment of women.

"Sexism as we all know is the stereotyping of women as weak, soft and needing care and therefore women cannot handle tough jobs," Dr Ali said.

"This is benevolent sexism which translates into hostile sexism when rude comments on sexuality are hurled at women whether in the workplace or in any social and cultural setting. It is sexism that is responsible for unequal opportunities for women and the women who have made it to the top of the rank in their various occupations have to be celebrated and applauded for their achievements."

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa, who attended the event as a guest speaker, said nobody was immune from sexist mentalities particularly in a patriarchal society like Fiji.

While sharing her 13 years career development in the civil service sector, Mrs Vuniwaqa also noted that the biggest challenge was where women put other women down.

"This is evident when women are not supporting other women particularly younger women who have just started in their careers," Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

She also commended organisations such as WIB for helping and supporting other women in the private and public sector.

Other speakers, which included British High Commissioner to Fiji Melanie Hopkins and Tower Insurance chief executive officer Sarah Jane Wild who shared similar sentiments and challenges faced in their career journey.

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