Rural women at more risk

A LACK of access to basic services often renders rural women vulnerable in times of disasters.

Acting Minister for Women Jone Usamate said women also bore the heaviest brunt of global warming and climate change in a disproportionate manner.

“Unfortunately, many are not being empowered enough to contribute to solutions,” he said.

“Rural women in comparison to other women do lack access to basic services and infrastructure such as water and sanitation, electricity, education and health in the Pacific and this gets worse during disasters.”

He said challenges faced by women in Fiji were many, including high rates of domestic violence and abuse, disproportionate representation at leadership levels and inadequate opportunities for economic benefits in informal sectors.

Climate change compounded these challenges further by burdening women with the destruction of their home or village or vital resources because of disasters.

“Extreme weather events are more likely to kill women and also leave them with few resources to rebuild their lives due to their limited legal assets and access to property.

“Fiji is proud that the adoption of the First Gender Action Plan also took place at COP23 during its presidency.

“This would help ensure that the benefits of climate action are shared equitably and integration of these principles and practices throughout the work of the institutions that govern our collective response to climate change, not only in our region but for women around the world.”

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