The 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Ministers for Women took place in Suva, Fiji, from 2 to 5 October 2017.  The purpose of the Conference was to share experiences and make recommendations to accelerate progress towards achieving gender equality and a full realisation of women’s human rights in the Pacific region.

It was the first time for many of the Ni-Vanuatu delegation to attend a Triennial. Sista caught up with the Ni-Vanuatu representatives of civil society and asked them to share their thoughts on women’s economic empowerment, which was the theme of the Triennial. 


Cedric Paniel, Gender Justice and Livelihood Officer, Oxfam

Cedric Paniel, Gender Justice and Livelihood Officer, Oxfam

Wan barrier wea ol woman hemi facem blong obtainem economic empowerment hemi culture, religion wetem kastom. Hemi wan bigfala barrier wea hemi blockem ol woman mo stoppem ol vois blong olgeta i kam aot. Mo tu patriarchal system wea i stap hemi makem ol man hemi tink se ol woman hemi mas submit long hem. Ol tinting ia hemi kam bak agen long culture, religion mo kastom.

Mi tink se ol man hemi misinterpretem ol samting ia. Now ia bae yu luk se ol kaen tingting ia hemi affectem plante woman. I gat fulap woman wea olgeta hemi no save makem wanem wea hemi wantem.

Ol woman hemi mas makem ol unpaid wok insaed long haos, from hemia expectation blong ol woman. Hemi mas luk aot ol pikini, kiln mo makem ol kaikai. Sometime I gat ol wokshop wea I kam lo community be ol woman hemi no save kam from I no gat taem. Wok load hemi tumas.


Cedric discussing outcome statement with Vanuatu delegation

Wan nara barrier hemi ol schemes. I tru se ol schemes hemi save helpem ol woman be hemi makem wok blong olgeta double bak agen. Evri day ol woman hemi mas wok mo bigwan blong giv bak ol money. Hemi save result long problem insaed long haos, afta hemi save experiencem vaelens or high blood pressure.

Hemi kam bak agen long ol norms blong yumi. Ol man hemi tink se woman blong makem hemia, afta ol man hemi blong makem hemia. Hemi no shud be olsem. Yumi no bon wetem ol samting ia. Yumi learnem nomo throughout laef blong yumi. Yu learnem how now blong be wan boy, yu learnem how now blong be wan gel.

Ol gender roles insaed long community mo hoas hemi wan samting wea yu just learnem nomo. Ol mama hemi talem long gel se, ‘Yu go broom insaed long haos’, afta hemi talem long ol boy se, ‘Yu go kuttem ol fireword.’

Ol frens mo ol media, TV mo newspaper, hemi shapem yu tu blong learnem wanem wea wan boy hemi mas makem or wanem wea wan gel hemi mas makem. In reality, yu wan human being. Yu save gat plante emotion be society hemi stap limitem yu blong exposem ol emotion.

For example, one stereotype hemi talem se ol man hemi no save cry – sapos wan man hemi cry, society hemi stap talem long hem se ol man hemi no shud cry. Society hemi limitem hem mo keepem hem insaed long wan box. I kam bak agen long ol gender role expectations.


Cedric assisting and translating english to French speaking Pacific Islanders

Sapos yu stat blong educatem ol pikini taem wea hemi smol, hemi save breakem ol stereotype. Sapos wan boy hemi luk daddy blong hem I stap washem ol dishes, taem hemi bigwan hemi no fraet blong washem dishes and hemi stap talem, ‘Papa blong mi hemi wash. From wanem mi no save makem wok olsem ia tu?’

Yu no puttem ol gender role mo expectation long pikinini. Let them choose who they want to be. Yu no talem long olgeta ‘yu no save makem hemia’ from hemi stap limitem olgeta. Hemi no just affectem ol gel, hemi affectem ol boy tu.

Long saed blong economic empowerment blong ol women mo gel, taem yu talem long hem se ‘yu no save go long wokshop or skul from yu mas makem hemia long haos,’ yu stap limitem hem.


Cedric presenting at a side event on ‘Women’s Peace and Security’

Mifala go makem ol wokshop long Tanna afta mi luk se I gat fulap boy bitim ol gel. Afta olgeta talem long mi se ol gel hemi stap long haos from olgeta hemi gat pikinini, so hemi finis now. Sapos yu gat pikinini, laef hemi no finis yet. At the end of the day, ol gel hemi mas challengem tingting ia blong ol parents and push for your rights. Yu mas shapem future blong yu and save raets blong yu.

Bak agen, hemi kam bak long ol man tu wea olgeta hemi mas recognizem ol unpaid wok blong ol woman wea hemi stap makem. Blong makem I fair blong ol woman, mifala mas recognize, reduce and redistribute ol unpaid wok. From unpaid wok hemi contribute long economy blong yumi tu.

Taem bae yu toktok long economy, ol man hemi ting ting long ol wok blong VNPF nomo. But what about ol wok wea ol woman hemi stap makem long garden? Hemia I liftem up economy blong yumi tu. Sapos mifala recognizem, reduce mo redistribute ol unpaid wok, economic empowerment bong woman hemi save kam antap.

Cedric is a Gender Justice Livelihood Officer at Oxfam and was sponsored by Care International to attend the Triennial