Ensuring young women and girls raise their voices in Fiji
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted girls around the world, and it is important that their voices and experiences are included in global discussions and policy decisions.
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) is listening to the stories and experiences of Fiji’s young women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis. In early 2021, through an online survey and telephone interviews, FWRM asked diverse girls and young women to share their experiences of the pandemic.
The findings revealed that the majority of the young women and girls were expected to do more housework than their male family members during lockdown; and about two thirds of the young women who were studying at universities faced challenges managing online studies and unpaid care work during lockdown.
Their experiences of the unpaid care burden reflect global trends – care responsibilities are disproportionately undertaken by women.
Building on their preliminary findings, FWRM launched several initiatives to allow young women and girls to exchange COVID-19 experiences and learn from each other. This included a webinar series with the theme ‘Ask, Listen and Act’, which brought together an intergenerational panel of female speakers who shared their reflections on how COVID-19 had impacted their lives.
FWRM took the priorities raised in this webinar series and built further sessions around these topics. The topics range from physical and mental health to education and economic livelihoods. Each webinar included sign language interpreters to increase accessibility.
The activities were part of FWRM’s Grow Inspire Relate Lead Succeed (GIRLS) program, which seeks to enable young and adolescent girls to feel confident knowing and advocating for their rights.
FWRM’s girl-centred approach is designed to increase the power of girls and in doing so, improve their safety and security.
Supported by Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) NGO International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement GIRLS program is ensuring young women and girls have the opportunity to raise their voices and be heard.