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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

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03 April 2023

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM Publishes Perception Study of Leadership Report

FWRM Publishes Perception Study of Leadership Report

5/12/2022

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement, with the support of the UN Women and the Spotlight Initiative, launched the “Perceptions Study of Leadership in Fiji” in Suva on Friday last week.

The study, based on the views of 906 Fijians across the country found that issues that limited women's access to leadership spaces included gender stigmatisation, existing traditional status quo and culture.

The purpose of the research was to gauge people’s perceptions of leadership in Fiji and serve as a key document that provided a better understanding of preferred leadership styles.

"Women suffer from a confidence gender gap which makes them reluctant to proactively seek leadership. Investing in building women's confidence and leadership at the various levels of the pipeline that feeds national leadership is critical - whether that is at the level of community, local council, NGOs, public administration or corporate and SOE Boards, is critical. This is where women sharpen their political skills, and build their confidence," international human rights lawyer and FWRM co-founder Imrana Jalal said during the launch.

FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh said that all spaces and women's roles within them needed to be considered when planning initiatives to support women leaders.

"Leadership begins at an early age and continues to be expressed across many areas of women’s lives. The need to address women's barriers to leadership is of key importance and women's voices need to be heard," she said.

"The key findings of the research highlight that gender stigmatisation (41%), existing traditional status quo and culture (34%) were the main reasons that limits a woman's chance of becoming a leader. About 53 percent of the survey respondents agreed that culture influences leadership styles and perceptions in Fiji. The study showed that 35 percent of the survey respondents felt that support from loved ones is important and may increase a woman's chance of becoming a leader."

"This research is made possible because it is rooted in the knowledge, expertise and wisdom of local experts and civil society organisations who have been tirelessly working across Fiji for decades to advance gender equality, women's leadership and women's rights in all their diversity," Sonia Rastogi, Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) Programme, Officer-in-Charge, from the UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office said at the launch.

Sonia said trust-based relationships can best accelerate strategies that promote gender responsive policy reforms and gender responsive measures for women's participation in politics.

The survey for the study was undertaken through survey monkey and face to face interviews. A total of 80 percent of the respondents were females aged between 24-41 years. The parameters of the research provide coverage around characteristics of a leader, who a person perceives as a leader, traits that a good leader may possess, different qualities and their level of importance, religious and cultural aspects that influence leadership along with other factors.  

FWRM thanks the respondents of the Perceptions Study on Leadership in Fiji and the significant contribution from each individual that participated in the survey. This Study has been conducted at a time where Fiji is preparing for the General Elections, as such the respondent’s contribution adds immense value to not only the assessment but also towards improving overall leadership aspects in Fiji. FWRM hopes that this research will inform every Fijian on identifying leadership styles and models.

To find out more of what Fijians perceive leadership to be, please access the report here https://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/35th/FINAL_Perception_Study_on_Leadership_in_Fiji_-_301122.pdf

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