A truly feminist partnership: IWDA and prominent Fijian women’s rights organisations form the We Rise Coalition

April 13, 2016

Members of the We Rise Coalition sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: Meghan Cooper
Members of the We Rise Coalition sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: Meghan Cooper

In Fiji, 72% of women in relationships have experienced sexual, physical or emotional violence. Women from marginalised backgrounds often experience these inequalities to an even greater degree. From a young age, many Fijian women are taught this is normal.

We know that ensuring women have a greater role in decision-making and leadership will result greater protection of women’s rights. Better policies, better decisions and better leadership all contribute to breaking this cycle of violence.

Women’s rights organisations based in Fiji have played an important role in promoting progressive ideas and driving positive change for women, both nationally and regionally. Achievements include raising questions about women’s participation in politics, sexual and gender based violence, legal literacy, and women’s human, sexual and reproductive rights.

IWDA has a long history of partnership with women-led organisations in Fiji, with the first partnership formed with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement in 1988. IWDA’s partnerships in Fiji have a proven record of increasing the organisational resilience and strength of women’s rights organisations, and advocating for and defending women’s human rights and women’s leadership and participation in decision-making.

Over the last three years, the Australian Government-funded ‘We Rise’ initiative has enabled IWDA to provide essential organisational strengthening and core support to the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM). This year, we are pleased to announce that this partnership, has grown. On 8 April 2016, FemLINKPACIFIC, Diverse Voices and Action for Equality Fiji (DIVAfEq), IWDA and FWRM signed a ground breaking Memorandum of Understanding to create the We Rise Coalition.

We Rise is a dynamic, learning Coalition, led by four independent and feminist organisations:

Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is a multiethnic and multicultural non-government organisation committed to removing discrimination against women through institutional reform and attitudinal change. It strives to empower, unite and provide leadership opportunities for women in Fiji, especially for emerging young leaders.

FemLINKPACIFIC is a feminist media and policy network committed to empowering women, people with disability and under-served communities in the Pacific through a vibrant information and communications network which is enabling women to be seen and heard in local and national governance structures.

Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, is a growing feminist Fiji LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) national collective of high need and marginalised lesbians, bisexual women, transmasculine and gender non-conforming women and people working on issues of human rights and social justice, including gender and sexual, social, economic and ecological justice. Their vision is “All women, all people, all human rights and social justice, everywhere”.

The We Rise Coalition partners offer a unique range of skills and regional networks, while representing a breadth and depth of constituencies that gives visibility to stigmatised, marginalised and socially excluded women, including women with disabilities, widows, rural women, young women and women of lesbian and transgender orientation.

Through training, mobilising, empowering and supporting women in Fiji, the We Rise Coalition is working towards a Pacific where there is gender justice, ecological sustainability, peace, freedom, equality and human rights for all.

 

IWDA is excited to join Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, FemLINKPACIFIC and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality as an equal Coalition partner, and looks forward to four years of feminist partnership in Fiji.

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