Fiji’s Women’s Rights Movement Calls for Gender Equality in Local Government Elections

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Fiji’s Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) is urging the Fiji Government to enforce provisions for temporary special measures (TSM) to enhance women’s representation in political party participation and secure reserved seats for women in all town and city councils, along with their committees.

This call comes as Fiji gears up for its first local government elections in over 15 years.

In a press statement, the FWRM reminded the Fijian government of its commitments to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Fiji ratified in 1995. The organisation specifically highlighted Article 4 of CEDAW, which recognises that temporary special measures might be necessary in the short term to promote gender equality.

Under CEDAW, Fiji is obligated to make every effort to ensure the meaningful participation of women in consultation processes, the allocation of resources, and support for women candidates. Furthermore, CEDAW General Recommendation No. 25 affirms that the adoption of TSM should not be considered discriminatory, as it aims to expedite actual equality between men and women, the FWRM stated.

“We urgently call for the Office of the Solicitor General to include CEDAW General recommendation No. 25. One key issue to note, however, is that temporary special measures are indeed supposed to be “temporary”. The idea is that women will receive initial support to enter political life, but once women have gained sufficient experience, recognition, and opportunity to engage on an equal footing with men, this temporary support will be removed.”

This call from the FWRM is prompted by a concerning decline in women’s representation, from participating in national elections to securing seats in the Parliament.

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