Fiji Time: 2:08 PM on Sunday 18 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Archives » Article Index

Aspire to become policy makers

National Federation Party (Nfp) Provisional Candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua
Thursday, March 08, 2018

INTERNATIONAL Women's Day this year brings to the forefront for me personally the gaps that exist between different groups of women in Fiji.

Before we can talk about a gender gap, I think we need to work on closing the gap between rural and urban women, between those living in informal settlements and those who do not. When I return to my village on a small island on Kadavu this gap is made very real to me.

Making sure that education quality is the same in all schools, no matter the location is important to me. I would like to see that my nieces attending Kadavu Provincial Secondary School have access to the same learning facilities as my friends' daughters who attend Jai Narayan College or Adi Cakobau School. How can young women compete fairly for tertiary education and eventually jobs if they begin life in inequality or from a disadvantaged position?

I would like to know that my aunties and female cousins in the village have the same access to healthcare as I do in Suva.

In rural areas access to health services for women, in particular in an emergency, is largely dependent on communications and transportation, and both of these on finances and infrastructure.

This is not to say that rural women are less well off than their town sisters. In many, many ways rural women who eat less processed food and do more physical work are healthier for instance. Many rural women run businesses and farms and are the main breadwinner of their family, however they will tell you how difficult that journey was and continues to be.

This International Women's Day, I want to encourage young women and girls to aspire to become policy makers, to aspire to be involved in organisations which formulate new rules and laws, including Parliament and Government.

Most of the decisions that affect our lives are made in Parliament; from the cost of basic food items to how easy it is to reach a hospital; from making sure there are no disadvantaged schools to how we look after our natural resources; from freedom of the media, to freedom of worship; from how many cars come off the wharves annually, to retirement age. I think if we women, young and not so young make that conscious decision to #PressForProgress by being part of the change we want to see in our country, if we women got more involved in the policy making of our country, if more of us used our God-given compassion and passion, our country would be a much safer, cleaner, healthier and happier place to live.

I'd love to hear more young girls answer, "I want to be a parliamentarian", "I want to be in Government", "I want to be Prime Minister", when they're asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.65100.6320
JPY 53.691350.6913
GBP 0.35690.3489
EUR 0.40560.3936
NZD 0.69210.6591
AUD 0.64290.6179
USD 0.50070.4837



Exchange Rate updated on 16th, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Where are our horses
  2. Call to step down
  3. E-ticketing scrutiny
  4. Family and friends farewell naval pioneer
  5. Swarovski invites Hoerder
  6. Sandalwood planting
  7. 100 uni students in dengue fever fight
  8. Keep what we have
  9. FICAC rolls out pilot phase project
  10. Villagers look forward to better water supply

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sims' 100th game Thursday (15 Mar)
  2. Cessna heroes Monday (12 Mar)
  3. Picking up the pieces Tuesday (13 Mar)
  4. Men urged to marry Thursday (15 Mar)
  5. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  6. Man to appear in high court for wife's death Monday (12 Mar)
  7. A star in the making Thursday (15 Mar)
  8. Baravilala's ode to Cessna victims Thursday (15 Mar)
  9. The faith Monday (12 Mar)
  10. 7s hunt Tuesday (13 Mar)