In November, 2013, close to 50 young women between the ages of 18 – 35 from all over country participated in the historic inaugural Fiji Young Women’s Forum which hosted deliberations on Fiji’s move towards democratisation. The 2nd Young Women’s Forum commences this Friday 14thto Sunday at the Novotel Lami in Suva with an equal number of young women enthusiasts, travelling from diverse communities to be part of the 3-day discussions.
Objectives of the 2nd Forum include facilitating a space where young women leaders come together to discuss and articulate their specific needs and perspectives relating to Fiji’s political transition and moving Fiji into a sustainable democracy. The Forum aims to encourage and influence ‘active political participation’ of young women in the 2014 General Elections in Fiji and further empower them to lobby political parties and decision-makers for better representation and inclusion of their issues andthose in their communities.
Forum participants will be involved in sessions around concepts of Equality & Feminist Theories, discussions will be conducted around Fiji’s political history and the role that women played in shaping it, the recently launched National Gender Policy,Temporary Special Measures (TSMs) to enhance women’s political participation, holding leaders accountable, and the importance of the rule of law, women’s human rights, political parties and role of media.
“Comprehensive, and active participation is crucial in our progression towards democracy and the Forum hopes to titillate young women’s interest in governing structures pre and post elections.We are grateful tothe European Union & Conciliation Resources for availing funds to enable this opportunity. At the end of the Forum, we would’ve ensured a collective outline of development strategies for young women& determine responsibilities of individuals, women’s networks and government representatives in ensuring progress,” says Head of Forum Communications Tavai Bale.
The co-conveners of the Forum are the Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA), Generation Next (GenNext), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and Diverse Voices for Action (DIVA). All four organisations have a combined experience of over two decades of working with young women across the country and building on achievements of women’s rights advocates.
Young women who are unable to attend the Forum areinvited to participate through the Forum’s Facebook Page via discussions as well as via Twitter (@FJYWF ). Video updates from Forum participants will be made available on YouTube and viewers are encouraged to log on and provide feedback.