As the agreed outcomes of the 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) is negotiated over the next fortnight in New York, the voices of Majority south feminists are louder than ever. We demand transformative shifts in addressing poverty, strengthening institutions and financing through a feminist lens and so much more – we must build economic justice in all policy and practice and reject globalised neoliberal capitalist, patriarchal economic systems that mean that only certain men and women gain and so many others are oppressed and marginalised. Just as we say in climate change work, feminists do not want to be mainstreamed into a polluted economic stream. Sustainable Development Goal 10 speaks of ending inequalities within and between countries. So, we are at CSW68 to work for that – for liberation, balance, and justice for all, including women in the Pacific. Join us.”

 

From Diverse Voices and Action [DIVA for Equality], a four-team delegation is on a mission to amplify grassroots feminist demands, supported by staff and network members spanning Fiji’s vibrant context and 22 Pacific countries and territories. The DIVA network includes the Poverty to Power Network, Women Defend the Commons Network, DIVA LBT Hub, Qaqa Grassroots Young Feminist Network, Women Builders Network, Pacific Feminist Community of Practice, and more, represents a powerful force for change.

 

 

Noelene Nabulivou, Executive Director for DIVA for Equality, emphasizes the significance of CSW68 in pushing for global norm changes on gender and human rights. “The UN, including CSW68, is where we push for global norm changes on gender & human rights. DIVA network wants to see people thinking & acting in feminist ways on poverty and ensuring that our region, the Pacific, is at the forefront of transformative shifts. Access our booklet on the front page of our website: www.divafiji.org” she asserts. She further emphasized that “Humans are close to so many socio-economic and ecological tipping points, and we all need to turn back from the brink. We’re at CSW68 to gain accomplices. We cannot listen to excuses, lack of prioritisation and action, wilful ignorance. We’re working for a wide, deep urgent resistance movement to protect ourselves, other species, and the living Planet. The most urgent work. Join us.”

 

Viva Tatawaqa, Management of DIVA for Equality echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of addressing poverty head-on. “Attending CSW 68 is important because it is about time we confidently speak up about Poverty and failing financing system at the UN level, so we can disrupt the fact that we tend to think and settle with “it’s ok to be living in poverty”. Dravudravua (Poverty) should never be a taboo topic to unpack with families and in society’s, Tatawaqa stresses the need to dismantle systems that perpetuate poverty, ensuring that it is never a taboo topic and that meaningful institutional strengthening and inclusive financing become a reality. Poverty should never be the reason why you are not able to access mainstream governments assistance such as education scheme, housing, and medical benefits, but the sad reality is that it is for most of us. “Meaningful strengthened institutions and an inclusive equitable financing system is only possible if we outroot horizontal decision-making power and systems that are set up to accommodate only the elites. Feminist work is not just about strengthening languages and policies for better finance and institutions, it is also about immediate material changes in women’s life and also rooting out patriarchy at its core.”

 

Frances Tawake, Coordinator of the Poverty to Power programme shares that “Our goal here at CSW 68 is to contribute in to building local, national, and regional movements that will transform our work on gender, poverty, and economic justice. Grassroots feminist poverty experts demand stronger and gender just pro poor policies and programmes by government and other institutions. She reiterates that “We want poverty to decrease in our region and for diverse women and gender non-binary people to be fully supported to engage in economic grassroots activities and ecological justice work that will transform their lives”.

 

 

Tamani Rarama, Communications Officer at DIVA for Equality brings attention to the underrepresentation of diverse Pacific women, girls, LGBTQIA+ and gender non-binary grassroots feminists in decision-making spaces, emphasizing the interconnectedness of gender, poverty, and economic justice. “Our demand is to shift the paradigms of capitalist, neo liberal development towards an alternative that weaves in a feminist-based, human rights approach,” Rarama said. This call for a more inclusive and equitable approach resonates deeply, as global majority south grassroots feminists continue to lead the charge for change.

Penina Tusoya who coordinates the DIVA Agroecology project and Feminist Freeshop underscores the essential role of women in sustainable development, particularly ending gender-based violence, SRHR, housing, water, food systems and ecosystem sustainability. “Investing in all aspects of women’s lives is an investment in sustainable development and human rights,” she proclaims. Tusoya’s call for fair treatment and recognition of everyday social, economic and environmental human rights of women resonates as a fundamental pillar of feminist resistance.”

Ilaisa Kauyaca, the organizational Campaign Officer emphasizes the urgency of prioritizing work on poverty to pave the way for sustainable development. “We can’t break the cycle of poverty if we fail to recognise that it even exists,” they insist. Kauyaca’s words serve as a rallying cry for action, urging leaders to prioritize tangible solutions that uplift marginalized communities, and ensuring inclusive decision-making.

As CSW68 unfolds, the demands of grassroots feminists from the Pacific reverberate across continents, challenging the status quo and calling for a more just and equitable world. From local communities to global platforms, their voices serve as a powerful reminder of the collective strength and resilience of the global majority south. It is imperative that their demands are not only heard but acted upon, for justice, balance, and liberation on all territories. Join us in amplifying the #CSW68Pacific grassroots feminist demands and ushering in a new era of transformative change.