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TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF THE NEW ZEALAND FEDERATION OF GRADUATE WOMEN: TAKING EFFECTIVE ACTION: SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2009 PGW NET PARTNERSHIPS – NZFGW IN.

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Presentation on theme: "TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF THE NEW ZEALAND FEDERATION OF GRADUATE WOMEN: TAKING EFFECTIVE ACTION: SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2009 PGW NET PARTNERSHIPS – NZFGW IN."— Presentation transcript:

1 TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF THE NEW ZEALAND FEDERATION OF GRADUATE WOMEN: TAKING EFFECTIVE ACTION: SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2009 PGW NET PARTNERSHIPS – NZFGW IN THE PACIFIC THE UNITED NATIONS’ CEDAW CONVENTION: HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS Is the CEDAW Convention another form of colonizing Vanuatu? Is CEDAW necessary for the advancement of Ni-Vanuatu women and how? ANDRINA KL THOMAS SOCIAL ENTERPRISE PHD STUDENT UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO

2 Presentation Outline Traditional leadership in New Hebrides/Vanuatu What about women in Vanuatu? What is discrimination? Is CEDAW necessary in Vanuatu and why? Way forward for patriarchy in Vanuatu? CEDAW created improvements Way forward for Ni-Vanuatu women Bibliography

3 Traditional Leadership in New Hebrides/Vanuatu Patrilineal or matrilineal lineage descent systems/societies Patrilineal or matrilineal lineage descent systems/societies Patrilineal lineage descent: chiefly status from father to sons Patrilineal lineage descent: chiefly status from father to sons Ownership to land: benefits males Ownership to land: benefits males Traditional governance, mostly patriarchy but some female chieftains in some societies Traditional governance, mostly patriarchy but some female chieftains in some societies Matrilineal lineage descent: chiefly status from uncles to nephews Matrilineal lineage descent: chiefly status from uncles to nephews Ownership to land: benefits both males and females Ownership to land: benefits both males and females Traditional governance: equal participation between chiefly males with other males and females of the land owning unit Traditional governance: equal participation between chiefly males with other males and females of the land owning unit Upgrading of chiefly social status: pig killing customary ceremonies same system for patrilineal and matrilineal lineage descent systems/societies Upgrading of chiefly social status: pig killing customary ceremonies same system for patrilineal and matrilineal lineage descent systems/societies

4 What about Women in Vanuatu? Although men and women fought side-by-side for independence, women were forgotten Although men and women fought side-by-side for independence, women were forgotten Grace Mera Molisa, one of the leading woman who fought for independence outlined how women were brushed aside from participating in constitutional power in the following statement: Grace Mera Molisa, one of the leading woman who fought for independence outlined how women were brushed aside from participating in constitutional power in the following statement: “While women were keeping their families and children safe at home, men claimed constitutional power although both men and women worked hard for independence” (The Republic of Vanuatu, 2004, p. 4, quoted from Strachan & Dalesa, 2003) “While women were keeping their families and children safe at home, men claimed constitutional power although both men and women worked hard for independence” (The Republic of Vanuatu, 2004, p. 4, quoted from Strachan & Dalesa, 2003)

5 What about Women in Vanuatu? Patriarchal traditional governance: patriarchal and matriarchal chiefs Patriarchal traditional governance: patriarchal and matriarchal chiefs Matrilineal traditional governance: equal participation Matrilineal traditional governance: equal participation More women seeking education More women seeking education More women seeking external employment More women seeking external employment Glass: ceiling/walls/cliffs/escalator problems; male jealousies and insecurities Glass: ceiling/walls/cliffs/escalator problems; male jealousies and insecurities Men forgot about their women folk Men forgot about their women folk Five women in constitutional power in the last 28 years Five women in constitutional power in the last 28 years Three rural women made in into Vanuatu’s parliament Three rural women made in into Vanuatu’s parliament Equal participation for Ni-Vanuatu women in the decision-making process is non-existent Equal participation for Ni-Vanuatu women in the decision-making process is non-existent

6 What about Women in the urban centres? Relegated junior positions Relegated junior positions Paid 20% less than males Paid 20% less than males More Ni-Vanuatu women sought external employment More Ni-Vanuatu women sought external employment Women with no education become domestic workers/ “haos-gel” Women with no education become domestic workers/ “haos-gel” Women perform “double shift” at work and home Women perform “double shift” at work and home Women with no external work lived in poverty Women with no external work lived in poverty Some Ni-Vanuatu poor women had to become sex workers for survival and to feed and house their families Some Ni-Vanuatu poor women had to become sex workers for survival and to feed and house their families Poor women’s situation in the urban centres is grim Poor women’s situation in the urban centres is grim

7 Should women be empowered to participate in the decision-making process? The Beijing Declaration signed by all Pacific nations preceding the 4th UN World Conference of Women in Beijing made the following statement: The Beijing Declaration signed by all Pacific nations preceding the 4th UN World Conference of Women in Beijing made the following statement: “We are convinced that women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision making processes and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace” (cited in Strachan & Dalesa, 2003) (Republic of Vanuatu, 2004, p. 52). “We are convinced that women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision making processes and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace” (cited in Strachan & Dalesa, 2003) (Republic of Vanuatu, 2004, p. 52). Women in Vanuatu want decision-making jobs and constitutional power Women in Vanuatu want decision-making jobs and constitutional power

8 What is Discrimination? The CEDAW Convention describes discrimination as:...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field (United Nations Organisation, p. 1; Republic of Vanuatu, 2004, p. 21).

9 Is the UN CEDAW Necessary and Why? The UN CEDAW Convention may be seen as another form of colonization in Vanuatu The UN CEDAW Convention may be seen as another form of colonization in Vanuatu However, in the last 28 years, Ni-Vanuatu women had been forgotten and sidelined through the following illustration: However, in the last 28 years, Ni-Vanuatu women had been forgotten and sidelined through the following illustration: “A well-off boy who has an enormous array of garden tools is not willing to share any of his tools with his poor cousin sisters who are asking for his help and waiting in the sidelines. ” Men in Vanuatu are unwilling to work hand-in-hand with qualified Ni- Vanuatu women; they were unwilling to share their resources and constitutional power with the women folk Men in Vanuatu are unwilling to work hand-in-hand with qualified Ni- Vanuatu women; they were unwilling to share their resources and constitutional power with the women folk How can Ni-Vanuatu women’s advancement take place and how? How can Ni-Vanuatu women’s advancement take place and how? How will civil societies and NGO undertake effective monitoring? How will civil societies and NGO undertake effective monitoring? The CEDAW Convention was imposed on State Parties – Vanuatu acceded to it in 1995 to stop discrimination to Ni-Vanuatu women The CEDAW Convention was imposed on State Parties – Vanuatu acceded to it in 1995 to stop discrimination to Ni-Vanuatu women Vanuatu patriarchal mindsets have not changed in the last 28 years and they remain unwilling to accept female participation in the decision-making process Vanuatu patriarchal mindsets have not changed in the last 28 years and they remain unwilling to accept female participation in the decision-making process

10 Is CEDAW Necessary and Why? CEDAW is a schooling mechanism for Vanuatu’s Patriarchy concerning women’s subjugation and discrimination CEDAW is a schooling mechanism for Vanuatu’s Patriarchy concerning women’s subjugation and discrimination Poor women in the urban centres are now improving their living standards and operating as entrepreneurs through the Vanwods Microfinance Incorporation (a joint UNOPS/UNDP MDG to eliminate poverty) Poor women in the urban centres are now improving their living standards and operating as entrepreneurs through the Vanwods Microfinance Incorporation (a joint UNOPS/UNDP MDG to eliminate poverty) Grameen Bank Foundation/Collectivism works best for Ni-Vanuatu women seeking to run small businesses. Vanwods is having a highly successful rate of loan repayments and savings made each week because of the Grameen Bank collectivism foundation peer group membership and influence Grameen Bank Foundation/Collectivism works best for Ni-Vanuatu women seeking to run small businesses. Vanwods is having a highly successful rate of loan repayments and savings made each week because of the Grameen Bank collectivism foundation peer group membership and influence Collective partnerships advocated by the Vanwods Microfinance Incorporation is a successful capitalistic means of business operation that should also be encouraged to operate in the rural areas of Vanuatu so that people in the rural areas can improve their living standards through the provision of running water, improving physical hygiene and hygiene in the home Collective partnerships advocated by the Vanwods Microfinance Incorporation is a successful capitalistic means of business operation that should also be encouraged to operate in the rural areas of Vanuatu so that people in the rural areas can improve their living standards through the provision of running water, improving physical hygiene and hygiene in the home Proceeds obtained from successful businesses are channeled towards savings for future projects, children’s education, as well as improving living standards. Women in the rural areas can use their savings to build septic tank toilets, install solar-panels or small generators for creating electricity for lighting and storage of food Proceeds obtained from successful businesses are channeled towards savings for future projects, children’s education, as well as improving living standards. Women in the rural areas can use their savings to build septic tank toilets, install solar-panels or small generators for creating electricity for lighting and storage of food

11 Is CEDAW Necessary and Why? The collective social kinship and network system is already working well in the rural areas in the form of the traditional economy and the traditional governance systems The collective social kinship and network system is already working well in the rural areas in the form of the traditional economy and the traditional governance systems The UN CEDAW Convention assisted qualified women and poor women in their human rights and fundamental freedoms The UN CEDAW Convention assisted qualified women and poor women in their human rights and fundamental freedoms Good governance: equal participation, transparency, accountability and effective monitoring by NGOs and civil society Good governance: equal participation, transparency, accountability and effective monitoring by NGOs and civil society Aid donors assist the work of NGOs and civil society in effective monitoring work in Vanuatu Aid donors assist the work of NGOs and civil society in effective monitoring work in Vanuatu NGOs and civil society must continue to put pressure on the government to CEDAW and employ more women in decision- making bodies NGOs and civil society must continue to put pressure on the government to CEDAW and employ more women in decision- making bodies NGOs and civil society must continue with voter education to elect more women representatives NGOs and civil society must continue with voter education to elect more women representatives Women and women’s groups must continue to advocate for women’s rights and fundamental freedoms Women and women’s groups must continue to advocate for women’s rights and fundamental freedoms

12 What is the way forward for Vanuatu’s Patriarchy? Patriarchal leaders and institutions (PL&I) must recognise the value of women who are mothers of future generations as well as excellent leaders and managers at home and are “here to stay” Patriarchal leaders and institutions (PL&I) must recognise the value of women who are mothers of future generations as well as excellent leaders and managers at home and are “here to stay” Qualified women want to participate in constitutional power to improve good governance Qualified women want to participate in constitutional power to improve good governance Vanuatu’s patriarchy must share their garden tools/resources/constitutional power with their women folk Vanuatu’s patriarchy must share their garden tools/resources/constitutional power with their women folk More effective NGOs and civil society monitoring More effective NGOs and civil society monitoring Can the advancement of Ni-Vanuatu women be encouraged without any external conventions or influence? Can the advancement of Ni-Vanuatu women be encouraged without any external conventions or influence? Only when patriarchal leaders and their institutions are willing to work hand-in-hand with willing and qualified women, will the need for a UN CEDAW convention or any other form of external influence no longer be required or be imposed on Vanuatu’s sovereignty and state. Only when patriarchal leaders and their institutions are willing to work hand-in-hand with willing and qualified women, will the need for a UN CEDAW convention or any other form of external influence no longer be required or be imposed on Vanuatu’s sovereignty and state.

13 The way forward for Ni-Vanuatu Women Education and awareness to Vanuatu’s patriarchy concerning women’s plight and rampant discrimination Education and awareness to Vanuatu’s patriarchy concerning women’s plight and rampant discrimination Networking and role-modeling programme to train women leaders Networking and role-modeling programme to train women leaders Schooling spouses to stop women’s domestic violence Schooling spouses to stop women’s domestic violence Advocating for women’s basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and inalienable rights to work and affirmative action to increase women’s participation in the decision-making process Advocating for women’s basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and inalienable rights to work and affirmative action to increase women’s participation in the decision-making process Public service and private sector practicing EEO and fair recruitment and recruiting on merit Public service and private sector practicing EEO and fair recruitment and recruiting on merit Strengthening of NGOs and civil society’s surveillance roles encourage more women into decision-making roles Strengthening of NGOs and civil society’s surveillance roles encourage more women into decision-making roles Educational investment for female children Educational investment for female children Women’s rights and access to health Women’s rights and access to health Collectivism fundamental for successful capitalistic ventures Collectivism fundamental for successful capitalistic ventures Economic and social benefits for women working in collective units harnessing capitalism and including rural women in Vanuatu’s economic development Economic and social benefits for women working in collective units harnessing capitalism and including rural women in Vanuatu’s economic development Women’s rights to own land in urban centres and have equality before the law Women’s rights to own land in urban centres and have equality before the law

14 Bibliography United Nations Website: Republic of Vanuatu. (2004). Combined, initial, & second report on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Port Vila: Department of Women’s Affairs. Strachan, J. & Dalesa, S.N. (2003). The experiences of women political candidates in Vanuatu. Port Vila: Department of Women’s Affairs. Plus other references in the formal write-up.


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