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. 

Sharyn Wobur, Gender Officer, World Vision

If a woman cannot access information, it is a barrier to her economic empowerment. Even if she has the confidence to find new information, if there is no space to exercise that confidence, then it’s very difficult for her to move forward.

Some women lack literacy skills, especially if they come from rural areas, and they are not confident to speak or write. This lack of confidence combined with the issue of cultural barriers can shut them inside a small box. They won’t know how to come out because they are limited by a culture that has shaped them since they were children.

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We need to address women’s economic empowerment because women have potential that is not being used. We need to recognize how powerful women are – they can make something out of nothing. Even if a woman has no money, she will find a way to put food on the table. If her child is sick, she will address the sickness immediately.

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Women are responsible and responsive with multiple skills. A woman can cook a meal while talking on the phone and take care of her child at the same time. If she has the skills to manage a home and make everything run smoothly at home, imagine if she applies those same skills at work?


Sharyn is the Gender Officer at World Vision Vanuatu and was sponsored by her organisation.