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Perhaps next week we won’t have anything to bring to the market,” she says.Sofia and Raj are two of the thousands of women in Fiji who rely on their income, gleaned from selling produce or handicrafts at local markets, to pay for their children’s education and day-to-day living expenses.To do this, the MCO works through four key programmes: As the record number of eight women’s teams take to the field for the Oceania Sevens, they are playing to win, and to shift gender inequality to the sideline.“We are currently rated in the top four in the world standings,” said Fijianas Rugby 7s captain Ana Roqica.One of the biggest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, it packed wind gusts of more than 300kmph that flattened villages, destroyed crops and damaged essential infrastructure. “We placed so much expectation on our farm to help us pay for our expenses, including my children's education and medicine,” Sofia says.“We need to salvage what we can to help us cover our expenses.” To that end, she was back at Suva Market with her two children just two days after the cyclone.To this end, some progress towards gender equality has been made at regional, national and community levels.

These can include little or no access to decent work, leadership opportunities, legal representation, basic education and healthcare, as well as the direct physical and emotional effects of violence.Raj Wati relied on her pawpaw plantation in Sigatoka for her family income.She invested the majority of her profits back into the farm and used the rest to buy school supplies for her grandchildren and for the family’s shopping.However, women also offer unique skills and knowledge that could play a huge part in ensuring the overall health and prosperity of their families, communities and nations.UN Women’s Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) works with governments and civil society organisations across 14 Pacific Island countries and territories to address this imbalance, empower women and build more inclusive societies.

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