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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

14 September 2023

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM Disappointed with reaction to DrKuruleca's Appointment

FWRM Disappointed with reaction to DrKuruleca's Appointment

12/07/2023

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) is disappointed with the way the appointment for the Permanent Secretary (PS) position for the Ministry of Education has been handled by the Minister for Education and union representatives.

Dr Selina Kuruleca, whose appointment was confirmed by the Public Services Commission (PSC) and due to have begun work on July 3rd this week, has been rejected by her own Minister, AseriRadrodro, an act thatnot only undermines the qualifications and capabilities ofDr Kuruleca - a professional woman in her own right -but also the decision made by PSC.

"We are disappointed with this turn of events. In the line-up of new PS appointments, we only have three women. Dr Kuruleca has contributed immensely to the fields of teaching and mental health. Why is she not the right candidate for the PS role? This reeks of gender bias.   Dr Kuruleca is not being given the chance to take up her post, despite meeting the criteria and deemed the best candidate.  What are the justifications of the Minister and the unions rejecting her appointment to the education ministry? And why do they think they have to be consulted when the law clearly states otherwise. Section 126 –1 of the constitution confirms that ministers are not required to be consulted about appointment of Permanent Secretaries," FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh said.

Ms Singh said gender prejudices and stereotypes are often a major barrier of women at work, issues that women's rights groups have continuously advocated against as it prevents the recognition of women's contributions and limits their achievements at work.

"Gender bias impedes the advancement of women's careers – when we talk about the glass ceiling – this is the glass ceiling for women. Dr Kuruleca is more than capable of handling the role of the PS. We are saddened that issues around her appointment have been thrashed about in the media after processes have been followedas there could have been better ways to address this issue. PSC has done what needs to be done. We call on the Minister and the unions torespect the decisions made by the Commission," Ms Singh said.

FWRM believes that to truly provide an opportunity for women's advancement into leadership positions, organisations including the state ministries and departments need to overcome gender bias in the workplace and other professional settings.

A researchon leadership perceptions in Fiji conducted by FWRM in 2022 found that 69 percent of 906survey respondents indicated that “gender stigmatisation” decreased a woman’s chances of being 'elected' as a leader.A combined 74% (agreed and strongly agreed) that performance rewards are easily awarded to men, while women have to work twice as much. 

"Our society lacks the provision of enabling working environments for womenIn order to truly give both women and men an equal platform and chance to excel into leadership positions, we need to be aware of our own unconscious bias and stereotyping," Ms Singh said.

FWRM hopes that a solution is met and chaos over Dr Kuruleca's appointment diminishes.

Ends

For media queries please contact FWRM Communications Officer Serelisoni Moceica on 8677330 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.