A blind fighter for social justice

She is not Daredevil, but still an exceptional role figure for all the people in the Pacific suffering for a disability. There have been many firsts in the life of 36-year-old Mataafa Faatino Utumapu, a totally blind woman from birth who is making inroads for disability rights in her native Samoa. In 2014, Mataafa led national advocacy work on the Washington Group Short Set of questions … Continue reading A blind fighter for social justice

Meet the founder of Voice for Change, fighting against ending violence to women and girls

Lilly Kolts Be’Soer is a women’s rights defender and advocate for the political, economic and social empowerment of women in her native Papua New Guinea. She hails from Jiwaka Province in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Lilly is the founder and director for Voice for Change (VFC), a provincial NGO based and working in Jiwaka Province. Voice for Change focuses on ending violence against … Continue reading Meet the founder of Voice for Change, fighting against ending violence to women and girls

The watchdog of women’s rights in Solomon Islands

Ethel Falu Sigimanu has been instrumental in advancing gender equality and women’s human rights in the Solomon Islands. She is one of the longest-serving permanent secretaries in the Solomon Islands government, having spent the past 10 years with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs. During this time, she has taken leadership and has been influential in the work towards the passage of … Continue reading The watchdog of women’s rights in Solomon Islands

The midwife who became the fist woman in government in Wallis and Futuna

Esitele Fuluhea Lakalaka knows firsthand the struggles of women in her native Wallis and Futuna. She began her career at a young age in the late 60s in the French territory’s health sector, firstly as a secretary and interpreter, then as a midwife delivering births at Sia Hospital, then finally as an management executive at the hospital. Ms Lakalaka then became interested in public affairs … Continue reading The midwife who became the fist woman in government in Wallis and Futuna

Patricia Imrana Jalal, lawyer and gender advocate

Patricia Imrana Jalal is a Fijian lawyer and gender advocate, who served as a Human Rights Commissioner on the Fiji Human Rights Commission, as a Fiji Law Reform Commissioner,  and as Human Rights Advisor to the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) and the United Nations Development Program. She is a Commissioner on the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, to which she was elected in … Continue reading Patricia Imrana Jalal, lawyer and gender advocate

Mrs Afamasaga, influential teacher from Samoa

Seventy-year-old Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga has played an instrumental role in the education sector in her native Samoa for over 40 years. Ms Afamasaga started her career as a teacher, then went on to become a teacher trainer. In 1984, she was appointed Principal of Western Samoa Teachers College, a position she held for thirteen years. When the college merged with the National University of Samoa … Continue reading Mrs Afamasaga, influential teacher from Samoa

The first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia

Nadine Pidjot made history this May when she became the first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia. Following a successful career as a public servant for the Government of New Caledonia, the French High Commission in New Caledonia, and the French Embassy in Australia, she successfully created her own consulting company and is highly regarded among both Kanak and non-Kanak communities. During … Continue reading The first Kanak woman to take up law in New Caledonia

“It is time for the church to speak out against the injustices in society”

Reverend Sereima Lomaloma is an advocate for gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and children in Fiji and the Pacific, advocating through the Anglican church, House of Sarah and and other faith-based organisations since the early 2000s. For this portrait, she told the SPC that “It’s time for the church to also speak out against the injustices in society, violence in all … Continue reading “It is time for the church to speak out against the injustices in society”

She created a line of women products for rural communities in Vanuatu

Mary is the coordinator and a founding member of Mamma’s Laef, a social enterprise run by six ni-Vanuatu women in Port Vila. Mamma’s Laef sew washable sanitary pads that they distribute to communities across Vanuatu, where women often do not have access to menstrual hygiene management products, instead using old cloth or other unreliable and unhygienic substitutes and missing days of work and school as … Continue reading She created a line of women products for rural communities in Vanuatu

This journalist created a trans-Pacific women-media organisation

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls is a second-generation Fijian women’s rights advocate working at the intersection of gender and media. Following a successful high-profile career as a radio and television producer and presenter in Fiji, she helped establish femLINKpacific in 2000 as a regional women-led media organisation that advocates for Pacific women as decision makers in the long-term transformation of their respective island countries. In 2004, femLINK … Continue reading This journalist created a trans-Pacific women-media organisation