My Guide To Voting Launch: Fiji Young Women’s Forum

Suva– The Fiji Young Women’s Forum (FYWF) launched the My Guide to Voting (MG2V) Booklet on August 24 at the Holiday Inn in Suva. The guide is a youth-friendly booklet aimed at empowering diverse young women to think critically about their right to vote and their role in Fiji’s democratic process. The MG2V Booklet was published with support from the Pacific Community (SPC), through a grant funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its US$19.8 million Promoting Just, Transparent and Civic Minded (PROJECT) Governance partnership program.

U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Rebecca Owen said, “Effective participation of young women and girls in community and political life, all their diversities, is essential to building a healthy, inclusive and democratic society.”

“The My Guide to Voting booklet will help educate young women voters on their right to vote and the processes involved for them to exercise that right and participate fully in the political process,” she added.

“The MG2V booklet will be a tool to guide young women in the runup to election day. It will ensure equal and meaningful participation of women in all their diversity. The booklet encompasses voices of young women from all over Fiji on how they want their present and future to be. Diverse women’s voices are vital for good governance and MG2V would be an important tool for it.” says Cleo Petra, a co-convenor with the House of Colours.

Prior to this launch, the FYWF held three (3) divisional dialogues with diverse, young women between the ages of 18 – 35 in the Western, Northern and Central Divisions, culminating with the 2022 National Declaration representing young women’s challenges and strategies towards human security. The launch hosted a panel discussion by the co-conveners on strategies outlined in the national declaration followed by a question and answer session. Dorrin Irvin, a co-convener with ELFA says “It is critical that all the hard work put towards the FYWF National Declaration by the diverse young women in Fiji is recognized by the upcoming government”.

Women are underrepresented across various levels of decision-making spaces in Fiji, despite the fact they make up 49.3 percent of Fiji’s population, and half of Fiji’s population is under the age of 27.5, according to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2017 Census Results. FYWF is concerned that young diverse women are not provided with meaningful and inclusive opportunities to contribute to or be consulted with Fiji’s laws though young women make a majority in Fiji.

Luisa Tuilau, femLINKpacific co-convener of the forum added that the booklet is an expression of young women’s commitment to their roles as voters and citizens of Fiji.