Tabuya calls for more women in Parliament
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).