Gallery: Stimulating insights, vision for gender diversity summit

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark is the new patron for the National Council of Women and she shared her stimulating thoughts and insights at the national conference in Auckland yesterday.

In an interview format with NCW chief executive Dr Gill Greer, Clark talked about violence against women, pay equity, leadership, abortion law reform, and sustainable development aid in the Asia-Pacific region.

Clark is a former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The conference theme was He Toa Takitini – “strength in diversity”.

The Pacific Media Centre’s Del Abcede, of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), was on hand at Mount Wellington to get some pictures.

1. “All that separates whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.” – Kate Sheppard. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

2. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark … keynote speaker in interview. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

3. Former PM Helen Clark being interviewed by National Council of Women chief executive Dr Gill Greer. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

4. He Toa Takitini …. “Strength in diversity”. The theme of this year’s NCW national conference. Image: De; Abcede/PMC

5. Scenes from the NCW national conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

6. Scenes from the NCW national conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

7. Scenes from the NCW national conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

8. Scenes from the NCW national conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

9. Scenes from the NCW national conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

10. Vira Grace Paky of UN Youth Auckland at the NCW conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

11. Pacific Media Centre and WILPF’s Del Abcede at the NCW conference.

12. Former PM Helen Clark at the NCW conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

13. Helen Clark with Ruth Coombes of WILPF at the conference. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

14. Helen Clark with the PMC’s Del Abcede at the conference.

15. A cartoon message for men – “listen!” Image: Del Abcede/PMC

16. He Toa Takitini – “Strength in diversity”. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Changing politics trigger predictions for Fiji’s first woman prime minister

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Changing politics trigger predictions for Fiji’s first woman prime minister

Lenora Qereqeretabua, 2018 National Federation Party’s provisional candidate Picture: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=433103

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Fiji might see its first woman prime minister after this year’s general election, predicts New Zealand-based political sociologist, Professor Steven Ratuva.

Following in the tracks of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Prof Ratuva believes politics in Fiji was drifting away from the old patriarch-type where men led in the political arena.

“Politics is shifting away from the old patriarch-type to the paradigm-shifting women who have been able to break through the glass ceiling like Jacinda Ardern,” he said.

Prof Ratuva said for Fiji’s upcoming general election, women such as National Federation Party’s Lenora Qereqeretabua, Social Democratic Liberal Party’s Lynda Tabuya and Tanya Waqanika, were strong provisional candidates.

“They are all young, ambitious and smart and they represent the new generation of women politicians who will no doubt become dominant voices in Fijian politics.

He said the three women in particular had become dominant voices in the country.

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“Interestingly, Lynda Tabuya, Lenora Qereqeretabua and Tanya Waqanika are all from Kadavu Island where I also come from and they bring with them the critical and intelligent voices from the south of Fiji, which is still one of the least developed parts of the country in terms of infrastructure such as roads.”

Prof Ratuva said the lead-up to the polls would be interesting with many parties yet to announce their women candidates.

‘Anything possible’
Last night, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said with the shift in the ideologies of the public, anything in Fijian politics was possible, including the election of a woman PM.

Ms Ali said she’d love to see a woman taking charge of the country.

She believes the country needs to get away from its traditional thinking and support women candidates who think outside the box and address pressing issues.

Ms Ali said Fijians needed to look at things realistically, and support and young intelligent women to garner for a seat in Parliament.

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Step up efforts to support Indonesian women’s rights plea to Jakarta

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Step up efforts to support Indonesian women’s rights plea to Jakarta

By Sheany in Jakarta

The National Commission on Violence Against Women, or Komnas Perempuan, has called on the government to do more to protect women’s rights, particularly by enacting a long-overdue bill on the elimination of sexual violence.

The commission also said that current response to and handling of cases of violence against women in Indonesia was still too slow.

“There are still a number of issues that the government must pay attention to, in order to make sure that women’s rights in Indonesia are protected,” Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Azriana told reporters in Jakarta.

Komnas Perempuan’s annual report revealed that there were nearly 350,000 cases of violence against women in 2017 – a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

The report, which was published a day before International Women’s Day, also criticised the government for its slow prevention and handling mechanisms.

“We are not moving forward with our justice system … There are even no educational efforts to minimise the harmful effect of [cultural] norms that can lead to sexual violence,” Azriana said.

In Indonesia, cases of sexual violence are handled in accordance with the criminal code, the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence, the Law on Child Protection and the Law on Human Trafficking.

Legal vacuum
These laws, however, do not cover all types violence, leaving its victims in legal vacuum.

“Many women who are no longer children [in the eyes of the law] are also victims of sexual violence, but they are not protected. The types of violence also evolve,” Azriana said.

For example, femicide – the killing of a woman or girl on account of her gender – is not traditionally categorised as sexual violence.

“This is one of the reasons why the bill on the elimination of sexual violence must be passed quickly,” Azriana said, adding that Komnas Perempuan and several other organisations have suggested the inclusion of several other types of sexual violence, which are not yet recognised by the law, leaving many victims helpless.

Sheany is a journalist with the Jakarta Globe.

Indonesian protesters call for end to violence against women in Yogya

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesian protesters call for end to violence against women in Yogya

By Rizki Halim in Yogyakarta

Dozens of women held a rally at the Zero Kilometre point in Indonesia’s Central Java city of Yogyakarta to commemorate International Women’s Day yesterday.

Taking up the spirit of feminism, the women, who came from a number of different groups, took up issues related to gender equality in Indonesia.

Action coordinator Adinda Aurellia said that Indonesian women hope that through the commemoration of IWD they could demand the rights that they should be afforded.

“We are voicing many demands at this year’s event in the framework of commemorating International Women’s Day, because there are in fact still many regulations in force that repress women,” said Aurellia.

The many cases of violence that still occur against women was also one of the topics taken up at the action.

This is bearing in mind that violence against women is an issue that to this day is still widespread because of the prevalent stereotypes about women in society that still see them as weak.

Through the rally on Thursday, the protesters hope that gender equality can truly be realised in Indonesia and that discriminative behaviour against women will no longer occur.

Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was “Peringati ‘International Womens Day’, Puluhan Perempuan Gelar Aksi di Titik Nol Kilometer Yogya”.

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Indonesia losing only female top justice amid gender rights worries

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Indonesia losing only female top justice amid gender rights worries

By Rieka Rahadiana and Yudith Ho in Jakarta

Indonesia is set to lose its first and only female constitutional justice, whose term is up next year, potentially dealing a blow to women’s rights in a country where they’re being challenged in the face of growing religious conservatism.

Maria Farida Indrati will end her second and final term in about eight months, leaving the nine-member board of justices entirely male on one of the two highest courts in the country — where cases on discrimination, domestic violence, early-age marriage and female political participation continually arise.

The constitutional court differs from the supreme court, where the top judges are all male and which determines final appeal in legal matters not deemed to be constitutional.

“The point of view I bring to the table is different from what my male colleagues present,” the 68-year-old judge told Bloomberg in an interview.

It’s not a certainty that Indrati’s replacement, who likely will be chosen by President Joko Widodo from a list of three candidates picked by a committee, will be male.

While her successor won’t be known for several months or even until after her departure, Indrati said there are several qualified women to consider. She herself was chosen by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008 after decades of lecturing in law at the University of Indonesia and assisting lawmakers in drafting legislation.

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In Indonesia, female law students prefer a career outside the courtroom rather than in it because “women don’t like to be seen as argumentative or to debate,” said Indrati, who plans to return to teaching full time when her term finishes. Quotas aren’t the solution to increasing women’s participation in public life, including on the bench, she said.

‘Be unafraid’
“It is important that women take this role and be unafraid to take this role,” said the judge, who suffered from polio as a child and walks with a limp.

Although when she was young she aspired to be a piano teacher, Indrati listened to the advice of her father, a journalist and former teacher who had wanted to complete his unfinished law degree.

He encouraged his daughter to study to become a law professor instead, according to her official biography.

When the constitutional court in 2015 declined a judicial review to raise the decades-old minimum legal marital age for women from currently 16 years old to 18, Indrati was the only justice with a dissenting opinion.

Raising the marriage age to 18 would allow girls more of a chance to secure their futures, Indrati said. The challenge was brought by a group promoting women’s health. Activists are again appealing, seeking to have the case heard again.

Last week, Indrati cast a decisive vote in the court’s decision rejecting by 5-4 a petition by conservative academics seeking to deem extramarital and gay sex as crimes punishable by prison terms.

She has also ruled in favour of other gender and minority-related cases such as pornography and blasphemy.

More difficulties
“It’s not always the case where the existence of a female justice means the law will take the side of women,” said Indri Suparno, a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence Against Women. “But the absence will give more difficulties to women to become more progressive.”

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is considered a model of moderate Islam.

The president, known as Jokowi, has put more women into senior roles compared with other Muslim-majority countries — a record nine of 34 cabinet ministers, the most among the world’s most populous countries.

High profile officials include Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi — a first in the country’s history — and Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. Rosmaya Hadi became Bank Indonesia’s only female deputy governor this year.

The country also imposes gender quotas for political party candidates put forward for public office.

In 2016, Jokowi launched the first nationwide survey on violence against women and children. However, he’s been silent on calls from human rights groups to end virginity tests for women applying to the military and the police.

Polygamy app
Worries over women’s rights have increased as attempts to hamper equality have been made more openly. A Tinder-like app, AyoPoligami, or Let’s Do Polygamy, and a seminar called “The Quickest Way of Getting Four Wives” have sparked controversy.

Indonesia allows Muslim men to take up to four wives if granted by a court and approved by the first wife.

Some 26 out of 153 countries have women as chief justices, or 17 percent, according to a World Bank report in 2016 called “Women, Business and The Law.”

Outside court
It’s possible that the challenge to the law legalising the age of marriage at 16 may be heard again while Indrati is still on the bench.

Campaigners for women’s rights say that women who marry young will miss out on what’s being called a demographic bonus by 2030 — when the numbers of working-age people are greater than the numbers of elderly — by not being able to further their educations and embark on careers.

The government wants to improve its professional workforce, but allowing women to marry at 16 means they likely will have to stay home and raise families instead of being able to participate, said Zumrotin Susilo, chairwoman of the Women’s Health Foundation, who was involved in the first appeal of the marriage law.

A Central Statistics Agency census in 2010 found 6.7 million out of 78 million women age 15 to 64 hold a bachelor’s degree, or 8.5 percent. About 500,000 women have postgraduate degrees.

“Women have to fight for the presence of female justices and build strong communications and perspective at the constitutional court,” said Suparno of the women commission.

The Jakarta Post

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Women must be at centre of global climate solutions, says Fiji minister

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Women must be at centre of global climate solutions, says Fiji minister

Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa … “important to emphasise the traditional roles and functions women in the Pacific play”. Image: Mereoni Mili/Wansolwara

By Mereoni Mili in Bonn, Germany

It is important that women and girls remain in the centre of climate solutions.

These were the words of Fiji’s Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa during the Gender Day event at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, this week.

She said it was important to have specific objectives for women in any economic or investment programme responding to climate change whether it involved mitigation, adaptation or resilience.

“If we understand the special place women have in our communities and act accordingly we would create strong programmes, have more effective responses, build better and resilient communities”, she said.

She added that climate change was harsh for women largely because women were over-represented among the world and were exposed to these dangers.

“Women typically are critical to keeping communities together, they care for the children, and they maintain traditions and give stability to villages”, she said

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Vuniwaqa said talanoa dialogue on the topic of economic case for gender responsive climate action would highlight the compelling economic reasons why governments were seeking and investors were funding climate policy.

Highlighting gender
It would also highlight actions that had gender as a core element.

Vuniwaqa reminded delegates that they needed to put women and girls at the centre of all climate efforts in order to succeed.

The Fijian Presidency at COP23 has emphasised the importance of equitable involvement of women in sustainable development and the implementation of climate policy, including the Gender Action Plan.

The Gender Action Plan had been finalised to recognise the role of women in climate action.

Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Flame Mata’fa, said that full participation and mainstreaming of gender issues was important and it was a step the Samoa government had taken.

“It is important to emphasise the traditional roles and functions women in the Pacific play so that people come to a common understanding and objectives,” she said.

Mereoni Mili is a student journalist on Wansolwara newspaper at the University of the South Pacific. She won a scholarship to attend COP23.

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