Key step for Fiji

AS Fiji’s first female Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni has a number of expectations and responsibilities as the country moves closer to its first parliamentary sitting since 2006.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, FemLINKPACIFIC executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls wished Dr Luveni all the best, saying it was a key step for Fiji to take in appointing a female Speaker.

“I think it’s a really good move to have a woman as Speaker, but we would hope that as a woman who previously held the portfolio for women in the interim government, that her deliberations in parliament will do several things,” Ms Bhagwan-Rolls said.

“Firstly, to ensure there is greater gender inclusion in the way of parliamentary proceedings — the oversight she provides and brings to parliamentary proceedings.

“Secondly, to continue to guide and offer ways in which women can access the parliamentary proceedings as well and that kind of accountability to the women of Fiji, because that’s going to be one of the challenges right now.”

Also commenting on the appointment was Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator, Shamima Ali, who said it was a positive move for women in Fiji and the Pacific.

“This is really good, we welcome the appointment and I think it’s an important first step — it’s a proud moment for the women in this country.

“This is also a time for collaboration and we need to have women in these positions so that people start accepting women in leadership positions and start recognising and accepting women’s leadership and kudos to this government for being able to do this.”