Skip to main content

35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Constituencies

To create postive change in their communities, FWRM's Intergenerational Women's Leadership program is targeted at developing and enhancing young women and girls’ leadership capacity. Since 2003, FWRM has worked with young women and girls in Fiji aged 10 – 25 years and supported the development of similar programmes in the Pacific. These include women’s organizations such as the Young Christian Women’s Association (YWCA) in the Solomon Islands, Kup Women for Peace in Papua New Guinea and Tonga’s Women for Action.

The program involves working closely with young women and girls in developing their leadership and advocacy skills at the national, regional and international foras through capacity-building workshops; design, production and dissemination of information educational and communication materials and facilitating the inclusion of young Pacific women at policy making forums.

FWRM works with a diversity of young women (including young trans-women, young women with disabilities) and girls (Deaf and hearing girls between 10-17 years) to mobilize a critical mass of such marginalized communities to tackle women’s issues at all levels of political and social activity.

Currently there are four main components of the IWLP with an addition of a Women in Ageing programme in the pipeline.


Grow.Insprire.Relate.Lead.Succeed (GIRLS)

Young girls face double discrimination: for being very young and female. They are often left vulnerable with their issues and concerns overlooked. Their right to voice their opinions are often hindered by various social barriers evidenced from FWRM findings.These are further exacerbated by disasters and times of crisis where girls living with disabilities would face a further disadvantage to fully realising their human rights.

Since 2007, FWRM has linked the celebration of International Women’s Day to an event that targets girls. This has led to the establishment of a GROW. INSPIRE. RELATE.LEAD. SUCCEED-GIRLS programme, a pioneering Girls feminist programme in the Pacific.

The GIRLS programme has increased visibility of the girl child through innovative means to engage and introduce young girls between the ages of 10-17 years to human rights education, gender, feminism and sports that are traditionally male dominated such as soccer, touch rugby and sevens rugby.

Some of the GIRLS activities include Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights sessions, writing and video editing skills workshops, Day Camps, themed weekend camps and using art as a form of activism.

Currently, the GIRLS programme is working with Deaf and Hearing girls around the Central division of Fiji. The programme also hosts an annual Girls Forum with the hopes of reaching girls living outside the central division that will in turn substantiate a collective national girl-led advocacy network.

The program hopes to address issues relating to intergenerational dialogue and creating a culture of understanding between girls, young women and women within their communities.

Emerging Leaders Forum

The Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF) is a year-long training program for 18-25 year old women in Fiji that began in 2003 under the then Young Women's Leadership Program banner. The training consists of workshops and retreats aimed at developing young women’s ability to critically analyze issues and develop advocacy skills.

Topics such as gender, feminism, human rights, trade, the economy, the environment, gender based violence, sexual reproductive health and rights and women’s participation in decision-making are discussed and analyzed using a feminist and human rights based approach. To date there have been six cohorts of the ELF programme and 96 young women graduates. The programme continued until 2015 and after a lapse of six years, picked up again in 2021 with the seventh cohort.

The eighth and ninth cohorts included young women residing in the western division and within the Navua to Sigatoka corridor as we aimed to de centralise the programme.

Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni

More than 120 young women have graduated from the Emerging Leaders Program equipped with a knowledge and understanding of Feminism and Women’s Human Rights, Women in Leadership, Women & Culture and Religion, Women in Business, and Women & the Environment, Tourism, Media, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Investment and Poverty, Globalisation, Trade and with a deeper understanding of Violence Against Women.

These graduates have formed the Emerging Forum Alumni (ELFA).

The ELFA has over the years, with an established Secretariat, implemented successful projects and advocacy campaigns in raising awareness on the needs of young women, adding a feminist critique and creating positive change in their communities.

One of the key success of the ELF programme is that FWRM has continued to offer ongoing support for the ELF graduates to remain connected to each other as well as support for them to carry out their own advocacy and activities as a young women’s collective.

The ongoing support for young women’s safe spaces, leadership and initiatives adds to the sustainability of FWRM and the wider Fiji women’s movement through the young women’s group.

The graduates of the ELF have formed a network of young women that advocates the concerns of young women in the personal and public spheres with several joining FWRM as full-time staff members over the years.

The current ELFA Secretariat consists of Monisha Singh as Coordinator, Dorrin Irvin as Deputy Coordinator, Caitlyn Harm Nam as its Secretary and Loraine Narayan is the Treasurer. Timaima Qereqeretabua is the liaison FWRM staff working alongside ELFA.

Fiji Young Women's Forum

FWRM believes that any process without young women's full engagement in national or local elections is not a democratic process. Strengthening the capacity of young women in various political spaces is democracy in action and encourages young women to bring about transformative change in their communities.

FWRM under the IWLP team provides a Secretariat role that strives to facilitate constructive alliances between young women-led organizations to conceptualize the Fiji Young Women's Forum. This builds on the rich tradition of activism and feminism by Fijian women throughout our national herstory.

The Fiji Young Women’s Forum (FYWF) is co-convened by the Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA), House of Colours and femLINKpacific. These groups have demonstrated great leadership and solidarity in young Fijian women by producing three progressive outcome statements in three forums in response to barriers to young women's meaningful participation and representation in Fiji's democratisation process.

The FYWF recognises the unique young women-led space that fosters solidarity amongst a diversity of young women which includes young lesbian, bisexual transgender, queer and intersex persons, young women with disabilities, young women of both religious and non-religious beliefs, aspiring young women politicians, young women sex workers, rural young women and young women mental health consumers.

Recognizing that young women have been marginalised from the 2012-2014 democratisation process has motivated FYWF to affirm that Personal is Political, consequently creating visibility in this process. The FYWF has provided a strategic platform to motivate young women voters in the 2014 Elections to raise awareness and the ongoing work to enhance active citizenship to hold national leaders accountable.

Fiji Women's Forum

The Fiji Women's Forum is made up of three women's organisations in Fiji referred to as the co-conveners, namely the Soqosoqo Vakamarama i-Taukei, Fiji Women's Rights Movement and femLINKpacific.

Fiji Women’s Forum was formed in 2012 in order to bring together diverse women’s groups, towards the shared aim of increasing women’s participation in leadership. Specifically, they put aside their differences to come together to increase women’s participation in the Fiji national elections held in September 2014.

The forum believes the under-representation of women all spheres is directly linked to many of the challenges that women face, including the struggles with conflict and democratization. The Fiji Women’s Forum believes that the full representation of women at all levels is a fundamental ingredient in the prevention of the resurgence of violence and the long-term sustainability of peace and democracy.

The co-conveners believe Peace, Human Security and Sustainable Development are possible when women in all our diversities are equal partners within civil society, and with governments and international organizations. Women’s participation is key from the local to the national level and must be supported with an inclusive and creative information and communication system. By amplifying women’s knowledge and voices, a shift from reaction to prevention is possible.

To date, four national forums have been held and they have enabled a diversity of women to mobilize in large numbers and implement civic education in collaboration with other women. Women participated in the constitution making process at different levels and degrees allowing for their voices and experiences to be included in the democratisation process.

The Forum co-convenors have also had opportunities to share knowledge and experiences through exchange with women living under similar contexts such Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

Ongoing activities include the Women In Politics training, Intergenerational Dialogues that include civic education, and build on existing women, peace and security initiatives and amplify gender, economic and ecological justice concerns.

Ageing Women

FWRM has worked for nearly 30 years to end all forms of discrimination against women (in all their diversities) in Fiji and the Pacifc Region. Over recent years the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement [FWRM] has framed their work in empowering young women in all their diversities building upon FWRM’s core objectives giving leadership opportunities to women, networking and sharing experiences with others in the Pacifc and internationally.

In terms of work, so much has been done and continues on, around empowering young women. However, FWRM acknowledges that not much has been done in Fiji to address the lack of agency women face as they age in today’s society. FWRM conducted Fiji’s first ever scoping study in 2017 to explore views about women and ageing more generally. The aim of this study is to inform FWRM’s future programmes in addressing some of the issues that Fiji’s ageing women have identified and recognised as systematic issues they face in the country’s ever-growing ageing population. Future programme design will target the empowerment of older women, with a focus on rural women. This programme design can be built in as a strategic plan phase to an existing programme – The Fiji Women’s Forum.