- About Us
Since 2017, our work has focused on four thematic areas: women’s economic empowerment; ending violence against women; women’s leadership and decision making; and strengthening women’s groups and coalitions for change.
In our consultation with our allies and grantee partners, and considering our key strengths and opportunities, we will continue to work across these thematic areas and will focus on two additional areas – climate justice and humanitarian action, and influencing aid and philanthropy, for the following reasons:
- They align to the priorities and efforts of the Fijian Government in addressing gender inequality.
- Financial and non-financial resources available to influence transformative change and positive benefits for diverse women, girls and gender non-conforming people in these areas remain relatively low and limited.
- A significant amount of our current rural and remote grantee partners received support for the first time and are still growing. We recognise that prematurely moving resources away from these priority areas potentially means lost opportunities for continued organisational development, movement building and doing more harm to our partner grantees and their constituents.
- Partnering with existing grantee partners means they can continue to strengthen their work to influence transformative change at household, community, sub-national and national levels.
In line with our mission to be an empathetic and adaptive fund, we will not be limited to working in the six thematic areas. As the pioneering women’s fund in Fiji and the Pacific, we will strategically pursue partnerships, alliances, networks and funding opportunities that secure and increase the flow of financial and non-financial resources to ensure gender justice in Fiji.
We have identified these focus areas based on existing and sound evidence that tells us about the inequalities and discrimination that women, girls and gender non-confirming people face:
- Women’s Economic Empowerment: economically active women suffer from an unequal burden of work because they also have responsibilities for home and family and community. For example, in 2015-16 women working for wages or salaries spent on average 24 hours a week on household work, while men spent 10 hours.Women are likely to continue to work largely in the informal economy, however, they face challenges that prevent them from fully benefiting from the economy, particularly the informal economy – these include the lack of social and legal protections, and the absence of voice in decision making around policies and legislation.
Women with disabilities are often subjected to double discrimination due to their gender and disability status and continue to be at a disadvantage in most spheres of society and development. Employment rates for women with disabilities are significantly lower than those of men
- Women in Leadership and Decision Making: In Fiji, 21.6 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women. Pacific scholars have attributed the continuing under-representation of women in politics in the region, including Fiji, to a multitude of factors and barriers, including the pervasiveness of masculine political cultures, the view that politics is ‘men’s work’, electoral systems that tend to favour men and women’s lack of access to election campaign financing.While women are still under-represented in national parliaments, there is a higher participation of women in senior management in the public sector with the regional average increasing from 11.3 per cent in 2012 to 14.8 per cent in 2016 – Fiji has 44 per cent of women in senior roles.
Women with disabilities also face additional barriers to achieving gender equality and are subjected to educational, social, cultural and economic disadvantages making it more difficult for them to take part in community life and take on leadership roles.
- Women’s Coalitions for Change: Efforts to enhance women’s agency need to work at multiple levels, to help create an enabling environment where a woman’s right to make decisions about her own life is recognised.This can be challenging in Fiji, where social norms and attitudes are based on complex gendered hierarchies that keep women disempowered.
Understanding these context specific norms is essential to achieving change. Formal structures, such as policy and legislative frameworks, also discriminate against women.
Women also face discrimination both informally and overtly, when it comes to land, marital property and inheritance. Amplifying women’s voice and supporting their ability to act against this discrimination is critical.
- Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls: Domestic violence remains one of the biggest risks to women’s physical health and mental well-being in Fiji.More women are affected by domestic violence than diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypertension. Sixty-four percent of Fijian women between the ages of 18 and 65 have experienced physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes.
Rural women (69 percent) are more likely than urban (58 percent) women to experience violence during their lifetime. Rural women also have very limited access to protection and support services due to the remoteness of their dwellings.
Difficulty in accessing the formal justice system compels many women to seek support from traditional justice systems, which are more focused on reconciliation than protection.
- Climate Justice and Humanitarian Action: women and girls are 14 times more likely to die or be injured than men due to a disaster. They are subject to a number of secondary impacts, including gender-based violence, loss of economic opportunities, and increased workloads.While climate change and disasters are having a huge impact on human security, health and environment, it is affecting disproportionally women and girls, and even more so rural and indigenous women.
Despite women being more affected by climate change than men, they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Women have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to come up with practical solutions. But they are still a largely untapped resource.
Restricted land rights, lack of access to financial resources, training and technology, and limited access to political decision-making often prevent them from playing a full role in building resilience to climate change and other environmental challenges.
- Influencing Aid and Philanthropy: Feminist and women’s organisations and movements should have the power to define their funding priorities in dialogue and partnership with funders.This is rarely the case, instead it is dependent on funders’ willingness to be open about how they prioritise and allocate resources which often results in competition for the same resources.
We will advocate for funders to work collaboratively with us, so their funding priorities and decisions are informed by the priorities and needs of our beneficiaries; and that we become their partner of choice in ensuring more equitable flow of resources to feminist and women’s organisations and movements in Fiji.