Caption: Justice Nazhat Shameem in discussion with Permanent Secretary for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
Changing mindsets in the whole process of addressing gender equality is a key factor towards achieving results.
This morning the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr Pio Tikoduadua shared this with participants at Gender Competence Training held in Suva. Drawing from the expertise and contribution by senior government officials, the training is designed to look at ways of strengthening government’s resolve towards providing equal opportunities for all Fijians and addressing challenges at the same time.
Highlighting the inclusivity of gender awareness in Fiji’s new constitution, Mr Tikoduadua added that the workshop is a reflection of the Bainimarama government’s campaign to provide access for women to equal laws and justice.
“It is one thing to change laws but quite another to change mindsets. Every time a person is disadvantaged or harassed because of his or her gender, we fall short of the vision we have for a new Fiji, a fair Fiji and a just Fiji in which all Fijians are equal,” Tikoduadua said.
He said in the Public Service workforce, females make 51 percent yet their representation at senior management level continues to be far too low.
“While the situation has been slowly changing for the better over the last two decades, there is still much to be done. It is up to us to make sure that each of our offices and departments understand how planning and budgeting can be gender responsive in order to tear down any barriers to advancement that women face.”
The Public Service Commission permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said the PSC is now positioned to include gender promotion by making it mandatory for Ministries to have these features as part of their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
“The Civil Service has moved many steps ahead of what it was and nowadays, we have many international enshrined principals and practices that addresses gender related issues. We do random audit checks in collaboration with permanent secretaries on any complaints on gender inequality and there are mechanisms and procedures that we are proactive in addressing.”
Organised by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, this inaugural training will be carried out in different phases and with key stakeholders.