Published by the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra

BroadAgenda

Research and Stories through a Gendered Lens

Pacific Feminist Forum: a growing movement for change

May 5, 2023 | Policy, Leadership, Power, Gender, LGBTIQ+, International, Safety, Misogyny, Activism, Feature

Written by Jane Alver

The 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum will be held in Fiji from 8- 10 May 2023. It is described by the organisers as “a platform for Pacific feminists to come together and share their experiences and strategies and inspire others to take on new challenges in their advocacy work and commitment and fight to address the issue of discrimination women face within their own countries and regions.”

This coordinated and diverse Pacific feminist civil society Forum generates and affirms Pacific feminist knowledge sharing and strategy. ย It provides an accessible and egalitarian space for feminist community building and organising . This has given a greater opportunity to Pacific Island civil society actors to harness, influence and promote political and social change.

Pacific regional feminist civil society is collectively creating spaces to be heard. Pacific feminists share initiatives, reconcile differences in goals, resolve tensions, have open processes, work across difference and sustain actions which have resulted in Pacific feminist civil society being able to build a space for influencing other regional decision makers.

In doing so, they have also been responding to the perceived problem of a global backlash against womenโ€™s rights and rights of sexual orientation and gender identity, a failure to progress the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals, and shrinking civil society spaces for feminist civil society in global decision-making.

An example of one outcome statement from the Pacific Feminist Forum in 2022. Picture: Supplied/Jane Alver

An example of one outcome statement from the Pacific Feminist Forum in 2022. Picture: Supplied/Jane Alver

The individual country national level feminist forums that have emerged in the last year and the Pacific regional level forum held in 2016, 2019 and now this year all provide ways forward to foster diversity in Pacific feminist alliances made up of individual entities, and negotiate and amplify common goals. Feminist civil society acting with greater cooperation and collaboration is resulting in diverse inclusion of multiple voices of Pacific actors. The impact of feminist movements and other initiatives of marginalised groups organising to contest gender inequality is continuing to grow.

The 3rd Pacific Feminist Forum is supported by the Australian Government through the We Rise Coalition and Pacific Women Lead at Pacific-Community-SPC (PWL at SPC), and the European Union in the Pacific, and the Pacific-UN Spotlight Initiative.

The 3rd PFF Working Group includes Sista, Brown Girl Woke Pacific Feminist Forum – PFF, Pacific Disability Forum, Voice For Change – Jiwaka,PNG, Kiribati Association of Non-Governmental Organisation – KANGO, femLINKpacific and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.

These coalitions and forums can be seen as forming a broader movement across difference within their own organisations and networks, but also as reaching out across movements to build numbers, amplify diverse voices and create more transformative change. The outcome statements from these forums also provide a negotiated platform that can be taken into other meetings and to grow impact and influence. To follow the PFF watch #๐๐…๐…๐Ÿ‘ #๐๐š๐œ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐…๐จ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฆ #๐๐…๐…๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘ #๐๐š๐ฌ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ข๐ค๐š๐–๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐‚๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž #๐๐š๐œ๐Œ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ

 

  • Picture at top: We Rise Coalition (femLINKpacific, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and the International Women’s Development Agency – IWDA) shares a statement of solidarity on anniversary of the 2nd Pacific Feminist Forum – PFF. Picture: Twitter

 

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Dr Jane Alver is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Business Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Her research area is civil society activism for gender equality.

 

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