Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced New Zealand will make a significant contribution to support the implementation of the Fiji Gender Action Programme to advance women's empowerment and social protection.
"Gender equality and women's empowerment is a priority for Aotearoa New Zealand, and for our engagement in the Pacific," says Ardern.
"The recent Fiji Gender Assessment showed big gaps in pay between men and women amongst a range of other disparities - this funding will go towards programmes that help address the issues and inequalities the report highlighted.
"The Fiji Gender Action Programme — Marama Ni Viti — draws together support for a range of programmes into one plan and will receive a $12.6 million contribution to implement.
"Funding will go to the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation as well as Fiji Women's Rights Movement, Women's Fund Fiji, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre and UN Women.
"This will deliver increased support to a wide range of services such as those that responded to and prevent violence against women through to programmes that supporting exchange and mentoring between female New Zealand and Fijian Members of Parliament.
"The funding will also expand work undertaken by the Fiji Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation to ensure Fiji's public service agencies have policies that are responsive to and empower women.
"Women's organisations have been integral to providing core services to women in all their diversity, particularly in reaching people with disabilities, LGBTIQA+/ SOGIESC communities and women in rural, remote and maritime areas. This funding will help build capacity amongst these organisations in order to strengthen the Fijian women's movement to keep doing their important work.
"The ultimate goal of the programme is to support Fijian women and girls, in all their diversity and to increase the voice of women in leadership and decision-making.
"We also want to see a reduction in the prevalence of violence against women and children and greater societal awareness of women's rights and gender equality," says Ardern.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.Photo: RNZ.
"Gender equality is a central tenet of the Duavata Aotearoa New Zealand Fiji Partnership signed with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama during my visit to Fiji in March," says Mahuta.
"The Marama Ni Viti programme also builds on my engagement with women leaders from government and NGOs during my visit. It has an ongoing focus on partnerships. It will support ways to build resilience, social wellbeing, equality of opportunity, and to support public institutions and civil society."