Fiji has experienced four coups since 1987. Between 2006 and 2014, Fiji was under military rule. For decades, Fiji citizens and human rights defenders have experienced regular arrests and intimidation. This difficult and hostile environment limited free speech and freedom of assembly.
In September 2014, Fiji held elections intending to create a democratic government. Only 16% of the elected representatives were women. Yet, a 2014 survey supported by IWDA showed that 72% of people in Fiji feel that more women should be in national government. Would-be women politicians face conservative attitudes and lack of leadership opportunities.
Young women in particular face difficulty taking on leadership roles. They experience both gender discrimination and age discrimination. Cultural traditions mean that younger people often cannot express themselves around more senior people. This cultural practice can shut out the voices and opinions of young women. Fiji had no elections between 2006 and 2014, so younger women have limited experience with politics.
In most areas of Fiji, households can be very patriarchal. Women have low education and find it hard to contribute to family economy. About one-third of people in Fiji live below the poverty line of AU$3.30 a day.
A few achievements of IWDA and our partners last year
copies of a young women’s guide to voting ran out in six weeks prior to the 2014 Fiji elections
people in Fiji were surveyed about perceptions of women in leadership, and 81% think women are under-represented in national government
people reached through our leadership initiative for Pacific women
population of Fiji
year of independence from United Kingdom
Coups since 1987
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