Women remain underrepresented across boards of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), an ongoing survey by Fiji Women’s Right Movement found prompting calls for women to change the status quo.
Fiji’s Ministry of Economy recently issued a call-out for applications for the board of directors to serve on the boards of SOEs that according to FWRM’s research have not changed much since their last survey two years ago.
In 2020, the FWRM found that only 21 percent of board members across 38 SOE boards were women, below the global target of 30 percent for the same year. The latest data from a follow-up survey that is being carried out and hindered by lack of information from relevant authorities found that the rate had dropped to 20 percent across the 38 boards. Furthermore, 17 of the 38 boards, or 45% had less than 30 percent of women participation.
The FWRM is urging more women to respond to the Economy Ministry’s call by putting in their applications to serve on SOE boards.
“Women are powerful agents of change, contributing tremendously in the home, community, economy, and nation, yet continue to be underrepresented in decision-making spheres that matter,” the FWRM said in a statement.
“Fiji needs more women leaders. Having women leaders ensures greater diversity of thought, inclusive discussions, meaningful contributions by half the population, and overall better accountability to women.
“Women are just as capable of leading as men and should not be held back by age-old stereotypes of leadership roles. We must ensure that women are supported with an enabling environment to realise their fullest potential and transform communities in the way that they have always done.”
In carrying out the follow-up survey, the FWRM faced difficulties sourcing data from SOEs. There were instances where websites were not updated, hesitancy in releasing infor, and an overall lack of data.
The FWRM reminds SOEs that the provision of such data in their accountability, urging them to have such information updated and publicly available.
“FWRM reiterates the urgent need to improve women’s meaningful representation in leadership and for all relevant bodies to publish information related to SOEs online.”