Moving forward: Challenges and opportunities for women in accessing higher education in Fiji Event as iCalendar

(Development Studies, School of Social Sciences)

12 April 2019

12 - 1pm

Venue: Room 301, Te Puna Mārama / Social Sciences Building (201E-301)

Kimberly Kretschmar | University of Auckland

My masters thesis is on women in higher education in Fiji and the difficulties and opportunities they face in accessing and completing higher education. This research focuses on education policies and social and cultural experiences that diverse groups of marginalized women face as they seek access to higher education and employment. The objective is to understand the intersections of gender norms, cultural considerations and economic practices in education and employment.

The primary research question is: What difficulties and opportunities do women in Fiji face in higher education and how can these be mitigated to enhance women's experiences in higher education? My approach is framed primarily by the work of Naila Kabeer's (2010) notion of intersecting inequalities which provides a multi-layered understanding of the roles and social positions of women from diverse backgrounds.

The impetus behind this research emerges from concerns that women are an underrepresented group in higher positions in employment and decision-making positions in politics and commerce in the Pacific, including Fiji. Achieving higher education contributes to international and regional social and economic development. Fiji has major tertiary education facilities yet there are still marked gender disparities in employment according to studies by Pacific scholars and activists (Fiji Women's Rights Movement, 2015; Naidu, 2016).

Kimberly Kretschmar is a research MA candidtate in Development Studies, with interests in gender, feminism and social justice. Kimberly has worked as an English language teacher and with NGOs in the education sector. After completing her MA, Kimberly plans to continue writing and to research about LGBTQI and women's rights.