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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

07 May 2024

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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Unpaid Care Work spotlight of the If Women Stop, the World Stops Concert by FWRM

8/032024

Unpaid care work perpetuates and exacerbates gender inequalities and discrimination. This was the sentiment shared during the fifth If Women Stop, the World Stops concert organised by the Fiji Women's Rights Movement in Suva today.

The free concert, a flagship event, held annually to mark International Women's Day, was used as a platform for representatives of women's rights and human rights groups to call for the recognition of unpaid care work, the elimination of violence against women and girls and the protection of marginalised groups in our communities.

The event was supported by the Australian Government through the We Rise Coalition in partnership with the International Women's Development Agency.

"Why do we continue to advocate for the recognition of the value of unpaid care and domestic work (UDCW)? UCDW is primarily undertaken by women and girls throughout the world which is a major hindrance to productive work by women and prevents them from having little or no time for leisure, earn a decent living or to engage in their communities and in national processes in a meaningful way. While all the men are at important village and communal meetings, the women are at home taking care of the children, cooking, washing, looking after the elderly and having no input into discussions and decisions that will impact their own livelihoods,” FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh said.

According to FWRM research "Beyond 33 %: The Economic Empowerment of Fiji Women and Girls", Females in the Fiji population, did 73% of the Unpaid Household Work, compared to 27% by Males. The largest share (46%) of this Unpaid Household Work was done by the Paid Labour Force (Females 25% and Males 20%) with Full-time Domestic Workers (“housewives”) doing 39%, nearly all by Females.

Ms Singh said it was important to continue the advocacy on the care economy and the unfair distribution of UCDW as it was often excluded from budget planning and national policy agendas. 

"This concert is our symbolic strike action and we are joined by partners in solidarity who close office for the day and come to enjoy the entertainment led by Vude Queen Laisa Vulakoro, dance and sing and use the event to "relax" from all the household work," she added.

The call for a Women’s Global Strike on 8 March 2020 was initiated by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), a leading network of feminist organisations and grassroots activists in Asia Pacific.  FWRM, as an APWLD member, decided to be innovative about solidarity action and organised a concert at Sukuna Park as our symbolic strike action highlighting unpaid care work. 

FWRM acknowledges the continued support from partners who showed up for the concert and representatives who took to the stage to share their lived realities and experiences as well as provide them the chance to sit back, enjoy good music, dance and take the day off from the everyday “work” of being a woman.

Ends

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