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.
Sabrina Brown, Vanuatu Young Women For Change
Mi wan single mother so tingting blong mi hemi vois blong ol young mama wea i gat pikinini. Mi tink se biggest barrier long saed blong women’s economic empowerment hemi access to finance. Now ia hemi gat ol micro schemes wea I kam insaed long Vanuatu. Hemi really gud from hemi save helpem ol mama blong makem wan business but hemi gat big interest wea yu mas pem bak.
Hemi very stressful long ol mama taem hemi mas pem bak ol interest from hemi bigwan tumas. I gud sapos i gat ol scheme wea ol mama hemi no gat need blong pem bak bigfala interest.
Mi stap wok insaed long wan private health clinic and mi luk se I gat fulap mama, young and old, wea olgeta hemi gat high blood pressure.
Yumi stap tink se hemi gat high blood pressure from ol kai kai, be taem yu toktok wetem olgeta, mifala findem aot se hemi no kai kai nomo. Olgeta hemi gat high blood pressure from olgeta hemi gat stress blong pem bak ol interest long ol scheme afta mental health blong olgeta hemi no gud.
Mi wantem se government hemi mas traem supportem ol mama wetem wan scheme wea hemi savem helpem olgeta blong growem business blong olgeta mo luk aot gud ol family. Hemi gud tu sapos ol mama hemi save gat training blong managem ol business so olgeta hemi gat peace and security.
Long mi, peace hemi meanem happiness long wan haos mo long wan wok ples. Taem bae mifala tok tok long saed blong economics, long mi, hemi meanem finance. Finance hemi meanem security.
Ol mama hemi gat expectation blong puttem kai kai long table and I gat some man wea hemi stap pushem ol mama blong makem sua se I gat kai kai. I gat fulap mama wea man blong hem I talem long hem se hemi mas makem garden blong kai kai mo karem money blong pem skul fee.
Ol mama hemi stap wok hard blong luk aot ol family be ol man hemi no stap ting ting blong security blong ol family blong hem. I have seen it – this is the real life of Vanuatu.
Sapos wan man or boyfriend hemi save se woman blong hem I karem wan loan blong wan scheme, man ia hemi talem long woman se hemi mas karem money ia blong makem half half wetem hem.
At the end of the day, it’s the women who are trying their best to make sure there is food on the table, a roof over our head and school fees are paid. Sapos hemi karem wan loan, now ia hemi gat wan narafala responsibility blong pem bak ol loan. Be lo haos, hemi gat fulap wok wea hemi mas makem tu olsem clean, cook, karem wota, luk aot pikinini.
Afta bae yu luk se husband hemi just ting bout kava nomo from society expectation hemi stap talem se hemi responsibility blong ol mama nomo blong luk aot ol family. Hemi wan big problem.
Hemia now why mi wantem se government hemi mas recognizem unpaid wok blong ol woman. Afta hemi makem mo esi blong helpem ol woman.
I gud sapos I gat wan scheme wea hemi recognizem ol issues wea ol woman hemi stap facem insaed long policy blong olgeta. For example, ol scheme hemi mas save se I gat sam mama wea hemi mas askem permission blong man blong hem bifo hemi save karem wan loan. Afta I gat sam mama wea man blong hem I stap force blong giv half half long hem.
Ol scheme hemi mas save ol social issues blong makem sua se process hemi protectem ol mama. Hemi gud sapos ol scheme hemi save makem ol form hemi esi blong usem, makem interest hemi low mo recognizem se ol mama hemi gat fulap unpaid wok – just give wan opportunity blong ol mama blong liftem up laef blong olgeta wea i no gat stress.
Sabrina represents Vanuatu Young Women For Change and was sponsored by Care International to attend the Triennial