Governments key to women's freedom and safety

June 17, 2024 6:09 am

Governments play a crucial role in ensuring women have the freedom to make decisions in their public and private lives, challenging gender stereotypes and aggressive forms of masculinity.

This has been highlighted by Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji Ewen McDonald during the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls event this week.

In the past decade in Fiji alone, statistics reveals that 53 women have died due to domestic violence, and McDonald states that many more are facing family and community exclusion, increased absenteeism from school or work, and abandonment of public career paths like politics or journalism.

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Australia’s High Commissioner in Fiji says individuals must bravely call out violent behaviors and inappropriate actions.

“While these aren’t always easy things to do, I take these inappropriate behaviors very seriously and believe it’s important to have a conversation and create awareness to help adapt and change individuals’ and communities’ behaviors.”

He adds addressing gender inequality, the root cause of such violence, requires collective action at both individual and societal levels.

Minister for Women and Children Lynda Tabuya believes that the cause of violence in Fiji is gender inequality and the patriarchal power dynamics in which men dominate women.

“These deeply rooted beliefs and social norms, such as the notion that men should be the primary breadwinners, women should handle all domestic duties, leadership roles are for men, and women should be passive and obedient, pervade every aspect of our daily lives, and fuel gender-based violence.”

Meanwhile, Australian government has committed $6 million towards National Action to Prevent Violence Against All Women and Girls 2023-2028.