PRESS RELEASE: Fifth FWYF launches young women’s declaration
Nineteen diverse young women convened for the 5th Fiji Young Women’s Forum that was held at Labasa’s Friendly North Inn from February 23 to 25.
The workshop was funded by the Magna Carta Funding for Human Rights and Democracy (MCF) through the British High Commission and was the first FYWF to be organised in the Northern Division.
Her Excellency Melanie Hopkins British High Commissioner to Fiji said, “Women’s participation in political life makes policymaking more inclusive and all women have a right to be represented in the decision-making processes that affect their lives. The UK is committed to promoting the participation of women in decision-making and supporting women and girls’ meaningful mobilisation and participation in political life.”
The FYWF have hosted 5 different national capacity-building workshops for young women, as part of their commitment towards improving Fijian Young Women’s representation in leadership spaces at all levels since their formation in 2012. The Fiji Young Women’s Forum is co-convened by Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, femLINKpacific’s Young Women in Leadership team and the Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA). The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) hosts the Secretariat.
“The rural-urban divide particularly in terms of access to information and communication has been a consistent barrier that limits rural young women's awareness of their basic human rights. This consultation was an opportunity to inform young women on their rights, support their capacity to exercise their rights as citizens as well as hold government to account to their gender equality commitments in the National Gender Policy,” stressed femLINKpacific Co-Convener Alisia Evans.
“Moving the Forum to Labasa for the first time and marking 6 years since the first Forum is a reflection of the co-convener’s commitment towards each other and the work we do,” said Emerging Leaders Forum Co-Convener Chandra Fisiiahi.
A major outcome of the Forum was the young women’s Declaration. This was drafted by the participants and highlighted areas of concern for young women’s issues. The Declaration is a key lobbying tool for young women to raise issues with their leaders, particularly in the build up to the national elections.
Few priority areas for young women as highlighted in the Declaration include:
"Collaboration between private sector, government and women's rights organisations in terms of assessing gender inequality and social norms in the workplace including occupational health and safety issues, sexual harassment and formalizing grievance processes."
"Greater collaboration between women's rights organisations and health practitioners through gender sensitization workshops and training highlighting the connection between women's rights and access to quality heath services including sexual, reproductive health and rights."
Young Women's Equal Participation in Decision Making-
"We must have access to mentoring, coaching and accompaniment strategies to support young women to realise their human rights including freedom of speech and expression."
“Young women face double discrimination because of their age and gender. As a result of this, their issues and ideas are often overlooked,” said Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Co-Convener Audrey Seru.
“This is exacerbated by other discriminations against their abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity. Young women have important knowledge on their own issues and experiences that need to be heard and considered to be able to move towards solutions and positive change.”
“Fiji Young Women’s Forum is a powerful, influential and a unique feminist space for diverse young women from Fiji coming together in solidarity to share our lived experiences and strategizing to change perceptions is liberating. Despite the challenges we are united as an empowering voice,” said FWRM Young Women’s Officer Mamta Chand.
For enquiries please contact FWRM Young Women’s Officer Mamta Chand at (+679) 9255674 or email