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Friday 1 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, Local, National, Pacific Islands, Regional


Toki-Brown chairs Pacific Islands Women’s Forum
Minister Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown (4th left) and Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Henry Puna (5th left) at the Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting in Suva, Fiji, this week. PIF/23083111

Minister Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown was honoured to chair the first in person Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting (PIFWLM) - a significant regional event. in Suva, Fiji, this week.

This meeting serves as a preparatory event for the upcoming 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Leaders meeting which will be held at Te Are Karioi Nui, Rarotonga from 6-10 November 2023.

Outcomes and recommendations from the Women Leaders Meeting  discussions will ensure our voices on gender equality, equity and social inclusion are heard at the highest levels, stated Toki-Brown.

For the first time for any Forum meetings, the policy dialogue included youth delegates representing their sub-regions.

Delegations heard from Pacific youth as they discussed their definitions of gender equality.

The youth took note of guiding advice from Ministers regarding achieving their place in the world and leading without fear or discrimination.

Toki-Brown acknowledged the presence of the youth at the meeting, whom she had had the “honour” of meeting with and exchanging dialogue.

She reflected on the “changes” she had wanted to make as a youth.

As Ministers and leaders, we are in a strong position to help make their dreams a reality, she noted.

Toki-Brown noted the significant roles women have embraced as leaders in their respective countries and their responsibilities in the community, churches, sports clubs and importantly in their homes.

Addressing the men present she expressed that for women to make meaningful and sustainable change, men and boys must be included, their “perspective and understanding is key”.

Toki-Brown also observed there needs to be a “change” in the Forum’s approach to ensure all women including those at grassroots level can have access to the outcomes of the meeting.

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Henry Puna’s visionary leadership has made the meeting possible, she noted.

Toki-Brown is confident the forum will make significant strides in empowering Pacific women and girls in the Pacific Way, “to forge a brighter, more equitable future for all our people”.

She took a moment to express their gratitude to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and  people behind the scenes of the important event for their tireless efforts in organising the meeting and putting together the ambitious programme.

- Melina Etches/Forum Secretariat Media Release