By Osnat Lubrani
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Women
Representatives of Non-Government Organization and Private sector,
Senior Government Officials, Media agencies, the women represented from outer islands outside of Suva, North, Western and Central Eastern division.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honored to be here with you today to mark the launch of this important project focused on strengthening women’s leadership at all levels. The launch of this project comes at an opportune time. Your work to enhance women’s leadership will I’m sure contribute positively to Fiji’s ongoing transition to constitutional democracy and in view of Fiji’s planned elections next year.
I am also happy to support your efforts in the appeal to help raise funds for women’s empowerment and leadership program in Fiji. Having previously worked for UNIFEM (now UNWomen) your work touches on topics that on which I feel passionate.
The UN’s work globally on women’s political participation has seen progress - yet much work remains to encourage and empower them to take their rightful place in leadership positions. In 1945 the number of women parliamentarians was only 2.5% with men making up 98% of MPs. 60 years later - there has been improvement: today in terms of world average of all elected members, women make up 21.5% women and 78.5% men. There are now over 30 parliaments leading the way with 30% or more women in their national legislatures. Having said that, while the overall trend is positive, the vast majority of countries will fall short of the agreed MDG worldwide target of ensuring that one third of parliamentarians are women.
The Pacific region unfortunately has the lowest rate of women’s representation in national parliaments worldwide, with several Pacific Islands having only one female MP at the national level or none at all. Women’s representation at local levels of government is also very low. This is why I am so pleased to be with you to launch a programme that seeks to change the picture.
I commend and congratulate the National Council of Women, Fiji, in implementing this initiative. Your collaboration and partnerships with all other stakeholders – including other Organizations and the Government is very important in making women’s empowerment and leadership everyone’s agenda.
I am delighted to launch this project today and offer my very best wishes to all who will be involved in the implementation of this programme over the next two years.
Thank you very much.