2 May 2006

Women's issues ignored in Fiji election campaign

3:38 pm on 2 May 2006

Women's groups in Fiji have expressed serious concern about the lack of focus on women's issues in the campaign leading up to the general election.

The Fiji Times reports that the Fiji Women's Rights Movement and Women's Action for Change have issued a joint statement calling on political parties and the media to focus on women and children before voting begins on Saturday.

The two NGOs say they are appalled at the apparent invisibility of half of the population of the country.

They say there is much emphasis on the politics of race and who should become prime minister while substantive issues for women and children are not discussed.

The two NGOs say media coverage has neglected to adequately address sensitive issues like violence against women, enabling legislation for women and children, and the role women should play in decision making.

The coordinator of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Virisila Buadromo, says they will publish the results of their survey of political party attitudes toward women's concerns this Saturday and has urged women to remember them when they cast their votes.