‘Fiji still has highest number of gender-based violence’

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Participants of a Women in Politics Candidate debrief at the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Hall in Suva yesterday, Picture: JONA KONATACI

Fiji still has the highest numbers of reported cases of gender-based violence in the region, says Deputy Speaker Lenora Qereqeretabua.

Officiating at the Fiji Women’s Forum candidates debrief program at the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Hall in Nabua, Suva, yesterday, Ms Qereqeretabua said the rise of social media had taken the gender-based violence abuse online with female members of Parliament becoming targets, including herself.

“It is no secret that women are historically underrepresented in politics in the Pacific islands and Fiji is no exception,” she said.

“Sadly, I’m only one of five women in Fiji’s Parliament today compared to 11 in December 2020.

“So I salute Fiji civil society organisations — the leaders, the members, activists for decades have worked for equality, dignity and respect for all,” Ms Qereqeretabua said.

“And continue to be dedicated to advancing women’s political involvement.”

Ms Qereqeretabua said the present crop of women ministers wanted to see more females join their ranks.