Fiji Women’s Activist Ali is Named 2011 Pacific Person Of The Year


SUVA – Ardent women’s rights campaigner and political rights activist Shamima Ali has been named by Islands Business magazine as its 2011 Pacific Person of the Year.

This was confirmed in a statement from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) yesterday on a story the magazine published in its December edition regarding Ms Ali’s latest accolade.

In the story, writer Samisoni Pareti described the many barriers Ali had faced this year in her pursuit of equal rights for women and a return to democracy for Fiji.

He said Ali had her fair share of lonely moments in the past 26 years during which she struggled towards her aim of breaking down a male-dominated and biased society and its varied systems.

“She has to put up with name-calling and threats of violence directed at her and her family,” Pareti wrote.

“Invitation to weddings of family and friends had dried up as she was deemed a “bad omen” to marital alliances. So-called friends turned their backs on her. But Ali pressed on regardless,” he further wrote.

Pareti listed reasons for her selection.

Those included: “For the courage to take on Fiji and the Pacific’s mainly patriarchal society and systems, for her determination and battle to put women’s rights on the agenda of every political leader; for the tenacity and sheer stubbornness to take the fight right into the pulse of male-dominated institutions in the military and the police force, all the time never losing her common and compassionate touch for the abused, the poor and the downtrodden.”

Ali is the co-ordinator of the FWCC.