Fijian workshop on Women, Peace and Security

Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Kayla Hayes (photographer)

Location(s): Suva, Fiji

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Events

Lieutenant Commander Jaqueline Swinton recently led the Fijian workshop on Women, Peace and Security. (photo: ABIS Kayla Hayes)
Lieutenant Commander Jaqueline Swinton recently led the Fijian workshop on Women, Peace and Security.

While alongside in Fiji recently, HMAS Canberra hosted a ‘talanoa’, or workshop, on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 - Women, Peace and Security.

The workshop was attended by members of the Australian Defence Force, Republic of Fiji Military Forces, as well as 18 children from various schools around Fiji.

Lieutenant Commander Jacqueline Swinton, who led the event, said it was a highly successful day.

“It brought together a range of cultures, ages, backgrounds and careers to discuss the importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in daily life, as well as its application to the full spectrum of operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” she said.

The workshop provided presentations on Women, Peace and Security and peacekeeping roles performed by women.

“While women make up half of the population, they are often not represented in the prevention, management or resolution of conflict, or post disaster relief,” Lieutenant Commander Swinton said.

“Furthermore, awareness around the importance of equality, the protection of women, the prevention of violence, the participation of women in all ranges and roles of society and applying a gender perspective to societal issues, is fundamental to sustainable peace and security.”

She said the workshop included key discussions held on the importance of women in UN peacekeeping missions for operational effectiveness, in order to broaden the skill sets available to the mission, to be role models and mentors to local women, and to allow the force to be more accessible and approachable to all of the community.

A highlight of the event was four presentations delivered by female military members, who spoke about their personal military experiences and the challenges they had faced and overcome.

Lieutenant Commander Swinton said this was both enlightening and inspiring, particularly to the young Fijian students who were empowered to participate in their community work to achieve their goals.