Fiji says “Times Up”

mailife - - Content - By DRUE SLATTER

On Jan­uary 1, Hol­ly­wood told the world that the time for sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the work place, in­equities in pay struc­ture and sex­ism, was up. This month, Women in Busi­ness Fiji fol­lowed suit as they lounged the 2018 Women in Busi­ness Awards. Pres­i­dent Nur Bano Ali an­nounced that for this year’s theme, the Women in Busi­ness Awards would be stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity with the ‘Times Up’ movement, and call­ing for an end to unequal op­por­tu­ni­ties for women and ha­rass­ment of any kind. The hash­tag, #timesup, can be seen across all plat­forms of so­cial me­dia as prom­i­nent male and fe­male per­son­al­i­ties around the globe stand against the in­jus­tices that women con­tinue to face in the work­place. This movement fol­lowed the We­in­stein ef­fect in Hol­ly­wood and a sim­i­lar stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity be­hind the #MeToo cam­paign. Women in Busi­ness Fiji is an ex­am­ple of tak­ing ad­vo­cacy past the com­puter screens and into the homes and work­places of women and girls across the coun­try. The WIB awards has con­sis­tently in­spired women with years of cel­e­brat­ing women’s cor­po­rate achieve­ments, hop­ing that by mak­ing these lead­ers vis­i­ble, more will be en­cour­aged to step up and chal­lenge the sta­tus quo. Speak­ing to maiL­ife magazine, Ali high­lighted the re­al­ity of cul­tural struc­tures and how they have made some women hes­i­tant about cel­e­brat­ing and ac­knowl­edg­ing their achieve­ments. “So­ci­etal struc­tures in Fiji are such that they don’t en­cour­age women to go out and put their hands up, to ap­ply for an award or to be a win­ner,” Ali said.

“As soon as she be­comes a win­ner, ev­ery­body cheers her along. But no one will nom­i­nate her in the first place, and we need to break that. We need to take a proac­tive ap­proach.” This proac­tive ap­proach is vis­i­ble in the process of nom­i­na­tions, where ap­proval from the nom­i­nee is not re­quired for their name to be sub­mit­ted for an award. Speak­ing to launch at­ten­dees, Brett Hooker, Gen­eral Man­ager of ma­jor WIB spon­sor, West­pac Fiji, chal­lenged ev­ery­one to cel­e­brate a woman in the work force. “I chal­lenge ev­ery­one here to take at least one ap­pli­ca­tion for and nom­i­nate some­one de­serv­ing,” Hooker said. Hooker spoke on be­half of West­pac Fiji, a spon­sor of Women in Busi­ness Fiji since 2003. This year they com­mit­ted $75,000 to the awards and con­tinue to set an ex­am­ple for cor­po­ra­tions ev­ery­where with their proac­tive ap­proach in equal op­por­tu­ni­ties. 56% of West­pac Fiji em­ploy­ees are women and they con­tinue to em­power women through ed­u­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy work­shops and the West­pac Women’s Ed­u­ca­tion Grant. Hooker said that each year, it was tougher and tougher for the judges to se­lect win­ners, but en­cour­aged as many nom­i­na­tions as pos­si­ble. The re­wards of these nom­i­na­tions were seen at the 2017 Women in Busi­ness Awards as en­trepreneurs, man­agers, em­ploy­ers and ex­ec­u­tives took home recog­ni­tion of their years of hard work, sac­ri­fice and bat­tling a sys­tem that still has some work to do. The 2017 West­pac Busi­ness Woman of the Year was the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Fiji’s largest ex­porter of value-added wood prod­ucts. Manjula Dayal and many other women were cel­e­brated last year and the time has now come for a new batch of cor­po­rate play­ers to be re­warded for their time on the field. This year’s cat­e­gories in­clude the Busi­ness Woman of the Year, Ex­ec­u­tive Woman (awards for both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor), Man­ager (awards for both pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor), and As­pir­ing En­tre­pre­neur. There will also be the Em­ployer of Choice, which ANZ Fiji won in 2017. Women in Busi­ness is sharply com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing women in com­merce and man­age­ment at the high­est lev­els, in or­der to bring about a change of at­ti­tude and stomp out in­equities. Align­ing them­selves with this year’s UN In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day theme, ‘Press for Progress’, WIB will con­tinue to push for the erad­i­ca­tion of in­equity and sex­ism. While there is much to be done in the cor­po­rate world to honor equal­ity, progress is be­ing made. And the faces of this progress will be cel­e­brated come the night of the Women in Busi­ness Awards, 2018.

Ap­pli­ca­tions close on 4 April, 2018.

Women in Busi­ness Pres­i­dent Nur Bano Ali

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