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“Connecting Rural and Young Women: Empowering for Change”

The human security of rural women in conflict is particularly undermined by sexual violence, limited access to land, no freedom of movement and forced displacement. Peace processes often pay little attention to the impact of these violations and miss out on possibilities to address them as recurring causes of conflict. Enabling the potential of rural women to improve their human security through active involvement within policy processes and political decision-making is a precondition for achieving lasting peace and security says FemLINKPACIFIC’s Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, “And that is why we are dedicating 75 hours of community radio programming and 10 hours of television programming as part of the global International Women’s Day 2012 Campaign”

From March 5th to 9th FemLINKPACIFIC’s Community Radio Station FemTALK 89FM will be on air in Suva, Labasa and Nausori featuring programmes produced in rural centres including Ba/Tavua, Nadi and Labasa, as well as featuring programmes addressing Women in Faith based leadership, Women in Local Government and Gender Equality and Disaster Risk Management:

“The community radio campaign will demonstrate the role of young women as producers and broadcasters as they once again collaborate to produce interactive programmes will rural women leaders and host the “suitcase” radio broadcasts in the 3 broadcasts centres,” says FemLINKPACIFIC Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.

The rural broadcasts will link with local level efforts to advance United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 states “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace -building, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution”.

“This will be another opportunity for rural women to address their peace and human security priorities, in line with the global agenda for the current Commission on the Status of Women – economic security, food security and decision making,” said Bhagwan Rolls, “The campaign will contribute to amplifying our collective call for increasing the expertise of rural women leaders on local and divisional advisory committees and so this year’s campaign will also feature as a simulcast on Mai TV from 12noon to 2pm. Our broadcast team in Nausori will host a simulcast which will take community radio broadcasts and the rural women on air beyond the ten kilometre radius of our local broadcast.”

In the lead up to attending the 2012 CSW, FemLINKPACIFIC met with the community leaders in 3 of our rural centres to understand what the global theme meant to them:

“84% of women consulted linked notions of Empowerment to participation in decision making for their communities. This meant not only being invited to attend meetings but being supported to speak with confidence and to inform decision making which would integrate women’s perspectives into decisions made. In the centres we visited, the representation of women in local advisory and village councils remained less than 30%. In fact in one rural centre (Nausori) there is only one woman in a council of 14 members! In another (Nadi) one woman highlighted, she was not even aware who her district advisory council representative was! Empowerment also meant having the confidence to be a leader within their own clubs and groups but being equipped with leadership tools that enables them to transform women’s human rights commitments into local and divisional decision making processes. Several women also referred to empowerment as being a process throughout a woman’s cycle of life, commencing with their status as daughter to having equal access to quality education and employment, as well as enjoying quality services as a senior citizen.”



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