Fiji National Feminist Forum: Platform to amplify women’s voices

FemLINKpacific executive director Susan Naisara Grey said the Fiji National Feminist Forum (FNFF) was established in a bid to amplify women’s voices and issues on a national level.

Speaking at the forum on Thursday, she said the FNFF would also be the platform used to take Fijian women’s issues and concerns to the region.

Ms Grey said building on the last Pacific Feminist Forum (PFF) in 2019, the We Rise Coalition, made up of seven feminist organisations from around the Pacific, felt that national feminist voices needed to be taken up into the regional space as a way of amplifying their impact.

“Sometimes when you have something at a regional level, the impact doesn’t really go down on a national level,” she said.

Ms Grey said the past PFFs included up to 150 women human rights defenders from around the Pacific coming to Fiji to discuss issues.

She said the FNFF and other national feminist forums around the region would take the voices of women from different countries up to the regional spaces to push for better gender equality and look at other key issues.

“We have representation of women and gender diverse people from rural and remote areas, women from the islands and the interior as part of this discussion.”

Ms Grey added the Fiji NFF is a way for our feminist organisations to keep up with the challenges women and gender diverse people face and the changes in those challenges.

Ms Grey said feminist organisations and women’s NGOs had done studies and documented the voices of women but those challenges were not static.

She also said the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works in terms of implementing the feminist charter and challenged women’s progress.

“Obviously, men felt the impact of the pandemic too, but for those who are already vulnerable, marginalised and on the fringes of society – the impact was disproportionate,” she said.

“It worsened on women and girls. This is us coming together again, rethinking and giving a diverse group the opportunity to talk about their challenges.”

Ms Grey said women’s NGOs and feminist organisations including femLINKpacific, worked with and supported a diverse and dynamic network of women but did not profess to know it all about the challenges women and gender diverse people faced.

She said there were attendees who were in such a space for the first time.

“This forum gives these people a space to talk about their lived reality and the challenges they face.”

The Fiji National Feminist Forum was held from 2-4 November 2022 at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour, Fiji.

The forum saw Fijian feminists coming together to celebrate and dialogue about key issues faced by them in their respective communities.

The FNFF is organised by the Working Group which includes DIVA for Equality FIJI, femLINK Pacific, Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation, Building Innate Resilience Through Hearts – BIRTH Fiji, Strumphet Alliance Network, Fiji and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.

The event is supported by the Australian Government through Women’s Fund Fiji.

Source: Fiji Times