FIRST EVER WOMAN CHAIRPERSON OF FIJIAN PARLIAMENT
St. Petersburg recently held the Forum of Women Parliamentarians as a part of the 137th IPU Assembly. EWC journalists interviewed Jiko Luveni, the Chairperson of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji. She told us about women’s representation in politics and five features of Fijian women.
- What is the role of women in your country?
- Recently, we had an election to the Parliament. Now we have the highest women’s representation in the history of our country, which is 16%. Internationally speaking, rate is not that high. However, it is the progress for us. I am the first ever woman-chairperson of our Parliament. Step by step we increase women’s political representation in Fiji. It is not our primary target, though, as gender inequality in our country is not that harsh compared to other countries. We also have a ministry dealing with female agenda.
We strive for the real democracy, when people participate in politics regardless of their education or where they live. People have to understand their choice being important. We also help women understand that they actually have the right of vote holding leading positions.
There is a challenge, which is not only typical for Fiji: women do not support other women taking leading positions. It is our aim to change that mindset feature. Some men as well need to understand that country’s development is impossible without women’s representation, especially the leading one. That is why our leaders including the prime minister support women.
- How do you understand the notion of gender equality?
- Gender equality is eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. It is the right for women to choose what they like to do, to run for political posts and to get any job.
- Please, name five basic features of modern women in Fiji.
- A modern Fijian woman is a woman who is striving to be as educated as possible. She wants to work within her specialty, thus she likes to see that no job is created only for men or women. Women can do the same as men. In addition, they are rather brave, as they always charge forward.
Nikolay Boykov, Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov