Tabuya calls for more women in Par­lia­ment

Fiji Sun - - Nation - Edited by Maraia Vula FILIPE NAIGULEVU Feed­back: filipe.naigulevu@fi­

Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party pres­i­dent Lynda Tabuya says she wants more women in Par­lia­ment. She was a mem­ber of a mock Women’s Par­lia­ment of Fiji 2016 for three days. Ms Tabuya said there was a small per­cent­age of women in the Fi­jian Par­lia­ment com­pared to other parts of the world. “We would like to see that in­crease and I be­lieve with pro­grammes such as this, Women’s Par­lia­ment Fiji, we can in­crease that,” she said. Ms Tabuya said pro­grammes such as the Women’s Par­lia­ment would en­cour­age women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion and work­ing to­wards com­mon goals such as gen­der equal­ity. “We are not here to put men down or to think that we are bet­ter, I truly be­lieve in gen­der equal­ity and that women can do as much as they can the same kind of work that men do in Par­lia­ment. “This is a pro­gramme that I have been very much look­ing for­ward to. Many other women ap­plied and I feel hon­oured to be part of this, and I hope that I have done jus­tice not just to the women of Fiji but to ev­ery­one in Fiji.” The for­mer Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific law lec­turer also called on more par­tic­i­pa­tion from women in ru­ral ar­eas.

“You’ll be sur­prised to see that par­tic­i­pants for this pro­gramme, prob­a­bly 70 to 80 per cent are from ru­ral ar­eas as there’s only four or five of us that are pro­fes­sional work­ing women in Suva,” she said. “This pro­gramme has re­ally en­com­passed a lot of com­mu­nity lead­ers from re­li­gious, tra­di­tional and sport­ing back­grounds. It is quite a good mix of women with their own views and their own ex­pe­ri­ences which made the Women’s Par­lia­ment a very en­rich­ing one.” Ms Tabuya also re­it­er­ated the need to pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, an is­sue she was pas­sion­ate about.

“Right now there’s a huge cri­sis in shore fish­eries, any fish that is within the reef, there is a dan­ger of de­ple­tion and over­fish­ing,” she said. “I urge all mem­bers of the pub­lic that we think about food se­cu­rity and that we think about the coastal com­mu­ni­ties that rely on these fish.” The 50 par­tic­i­pants of the Women’s Par­lia­ment also took the chance to de­bate var­i­ous is­sues in­clud­ing the Women’s Par­lia­ment Fam­ily Leave Bill 2016 (Bill No. 1 of 2016).

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