The Fiji Times

‘Only 45pc girls in workforce’

- By REPEKA NASIKO Dr Alisi Vudiniabol­a (left), Dr Sofia Ali and Antonio Ratuvili attend the Fiji National Education Summit held at the Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort in Denarau, Nadi.

MORE girls are completing higher education, but they are not making it into the formal workforce, according to a study by the Education Ministry.

Permanent secretary for Education Ministry Selina Kuruleca said 97 per cent of girls completed their secondary school education compared with 79 per cent of boys.

“60 to 65 per cent of students enrolled in higher education are actually women,” said Ms Kuruleca.

“And the female participat­ion in high-end jobs is increasing.”

However, Ms Kuruleca said girls and women progressin­g into the formal workforce remained a challenge.

“Beyond school, however, becomes a bit of a challenge and it’s something that we need to think about because even though more girls might be finishing secondary school and tertiary education, there are still high levels of gender-based violence.”

She said 61 per cent in this survey reported intimate partner violence.

“Girls continue to participat­e in the workforce but only 45 per cent of them are in the sector compared to 82 per cent of men.

“So, when we’re transition­ing to formal sector employment, there are less women going there.”

Ms Kuruleca said questions needed to be raised on where women were in the formal sector.

“Where are the women going? Is it something to do with our culture? Is it something to do with migration?

Is it marriage? Is it mobility? Is it completing studies that are not relevant because it’s not industry driven?

“In the workforce, 20 per cent of women are judges and magistrate­s, 55 per cent doctors, 54 per cent of women are civil servants.

“In the financial offices, only 25 per cent are women and only 10 per cent of women are CEOs. The gender situation is very fluid but we can definitely see that girls continue to finish their education. Why is it that they’re not gaining gainful employment?”

 ?? Picture: REINAL CHAND ??

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