The Fiji Times » Women empowerment


Despite the challenges and constraints they have to endure, women have been the source of so many success stories.

Their strength and resilience testify to their characters.

What is widely known is that even till today, women still face the problem of lack of representation and equality in the workplace.

Globally, more than 129 million women work in the informal sector, and in some settings women spend up to five hours more a day than men on unpaid care and domestic work essential but undervalued.

In 37 countries covering 20% ​​of the world’s population, women typically bear 75% of childcare responsibilities – with a range from 63% (Sweden) to 93% (Ireland).

In the Pacific with the predominantly patriarchal cultural background and way of life has reinforced some of these disparities.

FCEF has worked proactively to advocate for gender equality, women’s empowerment and economic empowerment through its Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC).

The council has actively promoted and tried to influence policy makers to ensure that women’s voices are heard and their needs taken into account.

As Chinese presenter Tian Wei shared, “Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world.”

WEBC has been at the forefront of women’s empowerment and the name that has become synonymous with this work is WEBC Coordinator, Fiona Dansey.

Renowned American historian William Du Bois shared, “There is no strength equal to a woman determined to rise” and this mother of four from the village of Nasilai in Rewa grew wings and reached great heights in her work to empower women.

Growing up and being the eldest in her family, she saw the struggles her mother had to endure to make sure they got what they needed.

Her background was one of the main reasons she pushes herself to success, to ensure that her mother’s love and devotion to her would be rewarded.

Fiona has been with FCEF since 2016, starting as the face that greeted everyone who visited the federation office as a receptionist.

Her personality and her willingness to learn are elements that have raised her to the rank where she is now as coordinator of one of the most dynamic councils of the FCEF.

“I was driven by this passion to help empower women, after seeing what my mother went through and one of the most satisfying achievements was delivering rural economic empowerment training in the village where I spent most of my childhood,” she shared.

Fiona also highlighted that one of her biggest accomplishments was in 2019 WEBC began working with the Women’s Fund Fiji (formerly the Fiji Women’s Fund), the first national fund for women in the Pacific with a feminist fund. empathetic and adaptive working to influence and mobilize financial and non-financial resources for feminist and women’s rights organizations and movements, so that they can advance the human rights of women, girls and non-conforming people gender in Fiji.

WEBCs were successful applicants in 2019 and because of the great work they were able to do, they also continued to successfully secure more grants to support their women’s initiatives.

The WEBC was able to carry out a total of 16 major activities, targeting women’s capacity building.

Her role as coordinator has led her to support women from all walks of life in Fiji and overcome the challenges that come with this role.

“I’ve had to continuously work on myself and improve my skills, build my abilities and get out of my comfort zone in this job that I do, it’s not easy but I realize, if I don’t not, who will?”

Fiona says she also sees the faces of her children and realizes that by empowering women she is helping to support livelihoods and this is something that also drives her to continue her work with WEBC.

Through her role as WEBC Coordinator, Fiona has traveled across the country and worked with development agencies, embassies and international organizations that have recognized the work in which WEBC is committed to empowering women.

As adverse economic conditions arose as a result of COVID-19, WEBC was fortunate to be the recipient of a Resilience Grant through the Womens Fund Fiji, which enabled WEBC to continue to support these women entrepreneurs during one of the most difficult times in Fiji’s history and to be a part of it was inspiring and satisfying that she shared.

Fiona also shares how the work she does has enlightened her husband and other male colleagues, who now have a better understanding of what gender disparity means and its impact on livelihoods.

“My work has made my husband recognize how important it is to support women, and he has supported my work on several occasions by offering to run errands and drive me when I needed to travel. It has been a satisfaction to be able to grow together,”
she shares.

WEBC in March 2022, held its first-ever Women Invigorating the Nation (WIN) convention, which was a huge success. Over 100 women are attending the convention and the results of the convention will now unlock and pave the way for the board.

As the council moves forward with women’s empowerment work, this WEBC coordinator will walk forward with a smile on her face and a heart full of passion for the women of Fiji.


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