Seventy-three-year-old retired politician Adi Finau Tabakaucoro has spent a lifetime advocating for the interests of indigenous Fijian women and girls. She is the current President of the largest women’s civil society organisation in Fiji; Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Viti, which works in the country’s 14 provinces on village, district and provincial matters as well as national development policies, programming, laws, regulations and services.
A wide range of issues are covered under SSV and these are linked to the needs of rural women, regulations in villages, registrations in the native land register Vola ni Kawa Bula and matters of gender equality, human rights, constitutional reforms, governance, development assistance, economic empowerment, transition democracy, LGBTIQ, humanitarian response and climate change.
As a former appointed member of the interim government from 1987 to 1992, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro advocated successfully for the inclusion of the words “sex” and “religion” in the Bill of Rights of Fiji’s newly drafted 1990 constitution. The new constitution became effective from July 1990, following the decision by coup-maker, former Brigadier Sitiveni Rabuka to revoke the 1970 Constitution. This was the first time that the Bill of Rights section in Fiji’s constitution mentioned that there would be no discrimination based on sexual orientation and religion.
In the 1980s, Adi Finau was appointed a member of the National Economic Council (NEC) that organised multi-stake holder consultations and set the agenda towards the development of the national development priorities. The outcomes became the basis upon which the national development strategies and accompanying budget were formulated. She served in this capacity, as a result of her role as the President of the Fiji Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and as General Secretary of the SSV.
She was President of the Fiji YWCA from 1980 to 1988 and the NCWF in 1984-1985. In 1995, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro headed the Fiji and multi-country protest against French nuclear testing in Mururoa on the Kaunitoni vessel. The contingent of protestors in the vessel comprised of parliamentarians from Australia, Cook Islands, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, United States of America and Wales.
Adi Finau is one of the three Co-Conveners of the Fiji Women’s Forum and works alongside the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) and the National Council of Women, Fiji (NCWF).
The 70 Inspiring Pacific Women campaign has been produced by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with Australian Aid and Pacific Women. The campaign marks the 70th anniversary of SPC, and leads up to the 13th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 6th Meeting of Ministers for Women in Suva (Fiji) from 2nd to 5th October 2017.