Friday 12th February 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Goodbye Shireen Lateef

It’s a sad day for the feminist and women’s movement in Fiji and the Pacific – one of our long time allies, Dr. Shireen Lateef, has passed away. Shireen departed suddenly on Thursday morning in Brisbane, Australia after being ill for some time.

Shireen was an inspiration to many leading feminists in Fiji, some of whom went on to found the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement. Her research, “Rule by the danda: domestic violence amongst Indo Fijians” was one of the earliest research on domestic violence, marriage and women in Fiji. This seminal work has been a catalyst for feminist work in this area.

For 23 years, Shireen tirelessly advanced gender equality in the Asia Pacific region through her work at the Asian Development Bank. She started as a Senior Advisor (Gender) in the Office of the Vice-President Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. She retired last year after serving at ADB for almost a quarter of a century. One of her many notable achievements at ADB was its Policy on Gender and Development, which provides the guiding framework for ADB’s gender and development activities.

“FWRM will always remember and be grateful to Shireen. Through her influence, the ADB was able to support FWRM’s advocacy on Women and the Law in the areas of family and labour in 2000. At the time, the Technical Assistance was one of the first of its kind, providing much needed support to a civil society organization and the Department of Women. This technical assistance helped FWRM with its successful lobby towards the Family Law Act 2003 and advancing the Employment Relations Bill to its second reading in Parliament in 2006,” said Executive Director, Tara Chetty.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Lateef family. Shireen will be missed – especially her razor sharp intelligence, wit and infectious personality.”

Her funeral service will be held in Brisbane with some of her closest friends and family tomorrow (Saturday, 13thFebruary). A memorial to celebrate Shireen’s life is being planned for Suva on International Women’s Day next month.

-ENDS-