Enhancing economic participation of Fijian women and providing them with a platform to market their products is a commitment that the Fijian Government will demonstrate during the Fiji National Women’s Expo 2017.

The event with the theme, “Be Empowered – Be the Change” will showcase the talent of 500 rural women artisans from around the country at the Vodafone Arena from the 14th – 16th June to exhibit their handicrafts, contemporary items, pot plants, food items and varieties of textiles.

The 3-day exhibition will have side events that will resource these women with capacity building training and informational sessions to boost their involvement in national development, and also provide them an opportunity for sustainable livelihoods.

Apart from the side events, there will be a Rural Women’s Fashion Show on 15th June that will showcase emerging designers.

As a build-up event to the National Women’s Expo, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation worked in partnership with the Fiji Arts Council, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Food Unit and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade to organize 13 Divisional Craft Shows in the Northern, Central, Eastern and the Western divisions to identify rural women artisans whose products have met the selection criteria adopted by the respective agencies for standards-setting.

The first National Women’s Expo was staged in 2014 by the Ministry of Women to promote talents of women artisans and provide them access to new marketing opportunities.

The 2015 expo with the theme “Connecting Women to Markets: Make it Happen” was a viable year whereby the ministry ventured into strategies in order to boost the economic empowerment of women.

The event will be a transitional phase for these rural women artisans as it will provide them a wider spectrum to be exposed to all spheres of development which concerns their political, social, economic and cultural participation.

It is a concrete step towards our national quest to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality and the empowerment of women.