Young women echo the call

10 May, 2016

The Fiji Young Women’s Forum (FYWF) continues to echo the call for the Local Government Act review to be completed to lead to subsequent municipal elections.

The latest Parliament seating has revealed that the review is underway, yet no clear timeline has been outlined and no indication yet given to any changes that are to be expected.

“As the FYWF, we would like to see the 30% commitment to women in decision making realised at local government level,” said Maryann Lockington, Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA) Deputy Coordinator. “We also to hope to see women of all diversities, including young women, be supported through these kinds of initiatives.”

“Following suit with the national elections, we would expect that the voting age for local government elections would be 18 in line with the electoral decree,” added Frances Tawake, FemLINKPACIFIC Young Women’s Leadership Team Leader. “Support to contest elections, including local government elections, and attaining positions in decision making spaces will enable young women’s active, meaningful, civil and political participation.”

These recommendations are in line not only with the outcomes of the FYWF forums, but also the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, ratified by Fiji in 1995), including its subsequent General Recommendations, and the National Gender Policy (2014).

In addition, with Fiji on its journey to recovery post Tropical Cyclone Winston, it is just as vital as ever to enable all Fijians to access decision making so everyone’s needs and wants are taken into account.

“We would like to see, with the next National Budget moved forward to the 22nd of June, support for the Women in Decision Making Taskforce under the Women’s National Plan of Action,” said the Members Collective of Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA) “Not only would we like to see the Taskforce more active, but also working to enable young women in our diversities be more active in decision making.”

The Fiji Women’s Young Women’s Forum (FYWF) is co-convened by Diverse Voices and Action for Equality), Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni, and FemLINKPACIFIC Young Women’s Leadership Team. The Forum is led by young women for young women and has brought together approximately 28 young women in 2013 from 8th-10th November, 24 young women from 14th-16th March 2014 and 50 young women from 27th-29th November 2014. Approximately 102 young women leaders and activists aged 18 – 35 years from Fiji discussed barriers and strategies to young women’s meaningful participation and representation in Fiji’s democratization process in 2014 elections and beyond in the 3 forums.