PEOPLE | Strength of a woman

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Minister for Local Government Maciu Nalumisa presents a certificate to Jese Tavi during the closing of the Regional Building Inspectors Workshop in Suva last week. Picture: ATU RASEA

IT’S an age-old issue, women being outnumbered in fields that are traditionally seen as “jobs for the boys”.
Yet, recent times have brought sweeping changes, and now you have women breaking the glass ceiling and inspiring others to do the same.
Jese Tavi is one of those women who is striving to forge her own path and succeed, despite odds stacked against her.
The Beqa lass is a building inspector with Suva City Council, and a participant at the regional meeting for Pacific Island building inspectors.
“I studied civil engineering, and it has a lot of branches, and this is just a branch of it, so I am following that one,” she said.
“I went in this field because my dad is my mentor, so I am following his path and I ended up here. He did civil (engineering) but he does roads, and my strength is buildings.
“I enjoy this job because I’m familiar with it. I can read building plans.”
Ms Tavi said she sees her job as an invaluable part of people’s lives because buildings are an investment, and she recognises the important role to ensure that approved buildings are compliant to regulations.
And even though she is aware of what her job entails, Jese believes it is equally important to continue up-skilling oneself.
“So basically, this workshop just enhances me on what to look for, the processing of applications and inspections.
“For us building inspectors, when the construction is happening, we go at various stages, and we do inspections and see if it is compliant with what has been approved.
“It (the Regional Building Inspectors workshop) was very good to learn from the other Pacific Islanders and we interacted, we shared different scenarios, tried to find solutions together.
“I have built a good connection with colleges in the same field from other nations such as Nauru, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
“I’m a woman but my mentors are men so I learn from them, and I try to learn what I can from them.”
Ms Tavi said she was hopeful that other young women would also venture out of traditional career paths.
She urged young women across Fiji, interested in engineering, to pursue their dreams.
“Despite the difficulties, the challenges make the benefits so worthwhile.”