Gender gap sparks concerns

Public Service Commission chairman Luke Rokovada at his office in Suva on Thursday, May 11, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU.

Public Service Commission (PSC) chair Luke Rokovada believes that women representation in terms of permanent secretary (PS) appointments is better than female representation in Parliament and other government entities.

He said this in response to comments made by Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali that she was very disappointed at the dearth of women in the PS appointments – less than 20 per cent.

“Look at the number of women (appointed to PS positions) and compare it with the number of women in Parliament – which is a better proportion?” Mr Rokovada said.

“Out of the 22 appointed PS positions, six are women and 16 are men.”

He said about two-thirds of the applicants were men and only one third were women.

FWCC coordinator Ms Ali said there were many qualified and highly esteemed women in Fiji from all ethnicities that applied for positions and were ignored.

She said the FWCC has been observing with great trepidation over the last few months the government board and institutional appointments and the lack of women’s representation.

“Women make up 50 per cent of the population and their contribution to society is unfathomable and priceless and yet they are ignored at the decisionmaking table,” she said.

“The Government and the people of Fiji have a great opportunity to turn things around.

“Let us give women a fair go and give them their rightful place in society. Let’s talk about temporary special measures.

“Especially as we are at the cusp of a momentous occasion tomorrow (today), the launch of the National Prevention Plan to end all forms of violence against women and girls.”

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