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Low Number Of Women In Local Government Appointments Disappointing

FWRM is extremely disappointed with the list of councillors and special administrators published recently where only 2 out of 27 are women.

After continuous calls and demands for equal representation of women and men in leadership spaces, it is disheartening to see that no effort has been made to change the narrative, especially in our local political and local government spaces.

"It is unacceptable to see that after three consecutive national elections, and now these council appointments, there is still a massive lack of women's representation in these spaces. And in a country where almost half of its population are women, how does this make any sense? Where are the women? Where are our voices?" said FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh.

FWRM reminds the government of its international commitments and obligations to empower women and employ special measures as a strategy of advancing women's equality.

Fiji ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1995. Articles seven (7) and eight (8) of CEDAW obliges the State Party to take all appropriate measures to eliminate any forms of discrimination against women in the political and public spheres.

Under CEDAW, Fiji must make every effort to ensure the meaningful participation of women in consultation, provision of resourcing and support for women candidates. Furthermore, CEDAW General recommendation No. 25 states that adopting TSM shall not be considered discrimination by any State Party as it is aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women.

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Additionally, Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls on government to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.

"Once again we urge the government to be gender responsive and ensure that everyone is represented fairly without discrimination. It is the government's duty to its people. All councils must have a fair representation of our population - 2 women out of 27 councillors? How is that fair? How can that equate to appropriate and relevant decisions for our people?," Ms Singh said.

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