11 Mar 2011

Call for new centres to empower Fiji women

1:22 pm on 11 March 2011

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre hopes the establishment of women's centres in provincial areas across the country will house programmes to empower women.

The government has endorsed plans to build about 20 new women's centres in 14 provinces and semi-urban settlements by 2013.

The Deputy Co-ordinator of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Edwina Kotoisuva, hopes the new centres will become hubs for women's development and progress and will offer programmes which empower women.

She says often such initiatives only reinforce women's traditional roles such as sewing garments for business but says barriers must be broken down to get more women educated and involved in science and technology.

"Sometimes people who are put in positions of power in these types of places do reinforce women's traditional role, you know talking to women about how they should dress, how they should be good women and not challenge the status quo. That's not the kind of system that we want in place for women. You know if we're talking about empowering women we have to challenge the patriarchal structures that are in place."

Edwina Kotoisuva says more focus must be placed on getting women into advisory councils and helping with decision-making at village and provincial levels.