Monday, July 29, 2013

Should Fijian women drink kava?

from w
There’s quite a contradiction here – either women stand up for their rights,  or the village laws ban women from drinking kava – meaning women’s place is in the kitchen and looking after the children instead of sitting around drinking kava and socializing.  Women do not make the decision but the men say so. There’s no talk of moderation, just a ban.  This is in some villages in Cakaudrove and Macuata.

Stand up for your rights PM urges women

Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has encouraged women to stand up for their rights and be empowered. “We need to make them more aware of their own importance in their families and communities. They are the backbones of their communities,” Bainimarama said. “Too many men in Fiji still think it’s their right to demean and mistreat women. Domestic violence is still a major problem.  And far too many women are exploited.” “Women are generally regarded as someone only to do the cooking and look after the children. We can never be an equal and fair society if even a single Fijian woman is discriminated against.” Bainimarama said government has introduced a raft of new laws to promote gender equality and also the first domestic violence laws. “We have strengthened the rights of the women in this country who live in “de facto” relationships.” “We have removed the old Victorian rules for corroboration for rape. Our criminal laws are modern and gender neutral.” He said they are still working hard to modernise all laws to make sure they reflect equality between men and women. Bainimarama was in Mau, Namosi yesterday to open the new Women’s Resource Centre for Seaweed. By Mereani Gonedua

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From Fiji Times
Ministry says grog ban on women is a policy
Salaseini Moceiwai
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
THE decision by elders in some villages up North to ban women from drinking grog can be regarded as a village policy instead of a bylaw.
Responding to questions sent by this newspaper yesterday on how some women in Cakaudrove and Macuata have been banned from consuming grog, iTaukei Affairs Board deputy CEO Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga said the decision by the village elders could only be considered as a village policy.
"The proposed village bylaw has not been gazetted as it is undergoing a review once again but the elders' decision can be regarded as a village policy to prevent women from drinking grog because of some unfamiliar occurrence that may have happened in the village," Col. Kurusiga said.
"The village policy is only exercised and effective within that village and to the members of the village.
"It is not effective in other villages that still permit their members to drink yaqona.
"This is similar to some protestant churches that ban their members from drinking yaqona."
Some villages in Cakaudrove and Macuata have banned women from drinking grog for the purpose of helping them to wholly dedicate themselves towards the welfare of their families.
Baleyaganiga Village headman Jekope Matanamatua earlier said the village law of not allowing women to drink grog was not to discriminate them but to ensure that children were looked after well by their mothers.
For Seavaci Village, the decision was discussed in the village meeting and was accepted by the women.
Turaga ni yavusa Ravinivatu Motekai Soidroka told this newspaper women could only drink grog in their own homes but not in the village hall.
He said they did not allow women to drink grog during village functions or at the hall but they could do so in their own homes.
 From Wikipedia

In Fiji, kava (also called "grog" or "yaqona") is part of the fabric of life, drunk day or night, at home or in the village hall. The consumption of the drink is a form of welcome and figures in important socio-political events. Both sexes drink kava, with women consuming the beverage more than men. The importance of kava in Fiji is not so much in the physical as it is psychological, serving as a forum where stories are told and jokes exchanged. Part of this communal aspect is its role in conflict resolution, functioning as a peace pipe between quarrelling groups.

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