Minister for Women, Lynda Tabuya says Fijian women and girls can only truly feel safe when they become equal partners in the society and are treated with respect and dignity.
Speaking at the Attorney General’s Conference in Nadi, Tabuya says the females should be given equal opportunities as men and boys.
“The belief systems that support this gender inequality, the belief that only men can be the breadwinners for a home, that only women should clean the house, that men should be leaders and women should be quiet and subservient. I get that all the time, manifest in all aspects of our daily lives and are the root that cause that lead to gender based violence.”
Tabuya says Fiji has one of the highest rates of violence against women and girls in the world and this issue extends far beyond isolated incidents.
“Two out of three women in Fiji have experienced physical and or sexual violence at the hands of a male intimate partner in their lifetime. Two out of three women. While one in three Fijian women has been subjected to physical or sexual violence from a man who is not their partner, one in five women have faced the harrowing experience of sexual harassment in their workplace.”
In June, the government launched Fiji’s National Action Plan to prevent violence against women and girls.
Tabuya stresses that NAP requires a collective action to pursue gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.