Leisavi Daisy Kenneth is one of six women leaders of market vendor associations (MVA) from Vanuatu, Fiji and Solomon Islands to attend the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women in Suva.
As the Vice President of Silae Vanua Markets, Vanuatu, Leisava shared her personal story of hardship and success at a parallel session at the Triennial – ‘Voice and Agency – Expereinces of Women Leaders of Market Vendor Associations: Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu’. In this article, she gives insight into her personal thoughts on the barriers of women’s economic empowerment in the market and agriculture industry.
Vice President of Silae Vanua Markets, UN Women
As a market vendor, I personally believe that one of the challenges that block women from becoming economically empowered is access to information about business and financial management. If we had access to trainings, then we can become economically empowered.
If you look at the reality, there are many women, especially market vendors, who are making business already but they just don’t realize it. They do not have the technical understanding of the business they are doing. But if information is shared with them, then the women can improve and expand on how to function their business.
It is important more than ever to economically empower women. Why? Because there are many women who are market vendors that rely on the agriculture industry, which is being threatened with climate change.
We are facing category 5 cyclones that will affect our business and we have already experienced the damage from Cyclone Pam. If another disaster comes and destroys our crops and we don’t know how to manage our money, then our business is finished and it affects everyone in the community.
Initiatives like UN Women’s Market For Change teaches us how to build our resilience.
Leisavi is the Vice President of Silae Vanua Markets and was sponsored by UN Women to attend the Triennial.
The market vendor associations representatives at the Triennial are leading, representing and advocating for the needs of all market vendors, specifically women, working in the informal economy with support from UN Women’s Markets for Change (M4C) project – principally funded by the Australian Government.