Around 25 market vendors celebrated International Women’s Day at NausoriMarket on Wednesday March 4 at a morning tea organised by Westpac and UN Women.
The event is one of many taking place across Fiji and the Pacific in the countdown to the official International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8 and celebrated the vendors’ contribution to their families, communities and the economy.
Adrian Hughes, General Manager of Westpac Fiji, says Westpac as an organisation is passionate about recognising women’s excellence and leadership at all levels.
“Westpac understands the strength of women and the unique challenges they face. Hosting the Nausori Market entrepreneurs is our way of appreciating and celebrating the roles they play in contributing to the social and economic development of the country.”
International Women’s Day grew out of the women’s labour movement in the early 20th century and was first officially celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. The United Nations began celebrating it during International Women’s Year in 1975 and it is now an official holiday in 27 countries.
It is a chance to reflect on the progress made for women around the world, call for change and celebrate the acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
UN Women’s Programme Specialist for Women’s Economic Empowerment, Preeya Ieli, says working with market vendors in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu through the Markets for Change project has reinforced how much potential and enthusiasm there is for women to take a leading role in the marketplaces.
“Some of these women have been working at the market for decades, providing for their families and sending their children to school, which in itself is evidence of leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance. It has been inspiring to see women taking that to the next level, getting involved in the decision-making processes at the market and working collectively to make positive changes that will have a real effect on their lives.”
For 2015, International Women’s Day marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, history’s most progressive roadmap for achieving gender equality. It is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made for women around the world since 1995 while also highlighting the gaps that remain and making a clear call for renewed commitment and action to make gender equality a reality for everyone.