Fiji Appoints First Woman Speaker of Parliament

October 6, 2014

Former Cabinet Minister Mrs. Jiko Luveni has been appointed as the new Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, making her the first woman Speaker in Fiji. 

Luveni formerly served as the Minister for Women and Social Welfare and won a seat in Parliament at the General Election in September. 

Soon after her election victory, Luveni was approached by Prime Minister Bainimarama and offered the position of Speaker of Parliament, which she accepted to become the first woman Speaker in the history of Fiji. 

Women's rights groups have expressed hope that Luveni, as a woman who has experience in advocating for women's interests, will continue to work toward increasing women's rights in Fiji from her new position. 

The Executive Director of FemLINKPACIFIC, a women's media NGO that was established to address the imbalances caused by traditional decision-making structures which hinder the effective participation of women, Ms. Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls expressed two anticipated outcomes of Luveni's role as speaker:

“Firstly, to ensure there is greater gender inclusion in the way of parliamentary proceedings – the oversight she provides and brings to parliamentary proceedings," she said, and “secondly, to continue to guide and offer ways in which women can access the parliamentary proceedings as well and that kind of accountability to the women of Fiji, because that’s going to be one of the challenges right now.”

Overall, this has been viewed as a positive step for the furthering of women's rights in both Fiji and the Pacific. 


Photo courtesy of John Steedman

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