Panel discussion empowers women

UN Women project associate Atunaisa Drivatiyawe (right) assists Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (left) and Barbara Malimali during a panel discussion on supporting Women’s Empowerment Principles in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE economic empowerment of women is great for the success of a business.

These were the sentiments shared by Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa during a panel discussion on supporting Women’s Empowerment Principles in Suva yesterday.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporate owners attended the discussion.

It was organised by the British High Commission together with its partners, UN Women, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the discussion was a great initiative and was a great step forward for businesses and the nation.

She said Government had been doing its share in relation to the laws and policies, however, she reminded business owners to be mindful of the impacts these initiatives have on the economic empowerment of women.

“We have introduced the paternity leave, family care leave and increased maternity leave and I am already hearing stories from young women going for interviews at organisations,” she said.

According to the minister there were instances where businesses would ask women unsuitable questions during the hiring process and these would relate to their relationship status, number of children and plans for having a family.

“These have now become the reality of women trying to enter the workforce and they are real,” she said.

“So as business leaders, the obligations on us is to ensure that the steps we take within our organisation complement rather than suppress the initiatives that are ongoing in various sectors.”

Invited panellists included ANZ country head Saud Minam, KPMG partner Lisa Apted, chief executive officer of Hot Bread Kitchen John Samisoni and the CEO for Party and Events Fiji and Fiji Weddings Kim Beddoes.

More Stories