August 16 2006

PRESS RELEASE

Lets Train Leaders', Not Queens

THE BEST way to build self-esteem, confidence, public-speaking and leadership skills for young women is through leadership training, not beauty pageants, says the Fiji Women's Rights Movement.

"We're not criticising the women who have chosen to take part in beauty pageants, but we feel there are better ways for organisers to showcase young women's talents and raise money for charity," said FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo.

"For example, a talent or music exhibition, where both women and men can take part, would be a more constructive way to both build the confidence of participants and raise money for a worthy cause."

FWRM invites young women who wish to build their capacity to take part in their Emerging Leader's Forum.  The ELF programme, which will run for the third time in 2007, trains emerging young women leaders in practical leadership skills as well as encouraging lively debate on current affairs.  Graduates of former ELF programmes have gone on to engage with the global and regional youth leadership movement, such as participating in the recent Pacific Youth Festival in Tahiti.

The Movement joins other women's rights advocates, University of the South Pacific staff and students, and members of the Pacific Women's Information Network (pacwin) in expressing concern over the recent USP beauty pageant.  The Miss USP Laucala pageant, which concludes today, has been organised by the USP Students Association.

Many commentators feel the student funds could have been put to better use, such as establishing a crèche for students children or starting a scholarship fund.  Alternatively, USPSA could conduct a leadership training course for student leaders with the governance institute at the University, as they have done in the past.

ENDS.