Changing the way we treat women

Women representatives from the Friendly North present an item at the Women on the Frontline Fiji Conference in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FAITH-BASED organisations have the power to change the way women are treated because the language of faith was one of the most powerful platforms in Fiji.

This was the message from Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa to participants at the Women on the Frontlines Conference in Lautoka yesterday.

“Faith or religious actors play an important role in the formation of people’s values, norms of acceptable behaviour and life roles,” she said.

“Consequently, faith actors occupy a unique position to make transformational and sustained progress towards gender equality.

“While it must be acknowledged that faith or religious actors can be part of the problem of gender injustice, underpinning discriminatory practices, they are increasingly becoming, and seen as part of the solution.”

Women on the Frontline conference

Women on the Frontline conference participants pray over Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa

Posted by The Fiji Times on Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A participant at the conference, Maria Vualiku of Daria Village in Wainunu, Bua, said traveling hundreds of kilometres from Vanua Levu to attend the event and meeting women from different backgrounds was a rejuvenating experience.

“Each year we come and learn so many new things that not only enrich our spiritual life but also our roles as Christian women in our homes, our church and our villages,” she said.

“We have 50 women who came on this trip. That number grew from six women who came to this conference three years ago.”

She said the conference has broadened their mindsets.

“We have women from the Catholic Church, Methodist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Assemblies of God and the Anglican Church who came to this conference and personally I have learnt so much from them.

“I have seen that at the end of the day we are all the same under God and as women we have a calling too.”

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