A mother’s dedication to education drives Uate to improve equality for women and young people

12 January 2023
Image Source    Pacific Community

Hardships caused by inequality experienced by young people and by women motivate Uate Tamanikaiyaroi to ensure equal opportunities for all Pacific people.

Uate continues explaining how his late mother carried the brunt of gender inequality from childhood. As the eldest daughter, she was taken out of primary school to stay home to help with the housework and childcare for her siblings. She only received a primary level education and was never able to reach highly-paid employment,  rather she spent most of her life as a  housekeeper.

“As a youth who did a lot of volunteering and advocacy work, I witnessed first-hand the inequality that women, girls and young people face in societies,” said Uate Tamanikaiyaroi, Programme Officer with the Pacific Women Lead at Pacific Community (SPC), Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division.

“I want to be part of the change, and to contribute towards providing equal opportunities for women and young people in our home and n our communities,” said Uate.

Later in life, as a mother of six children including three daughters, she used the limited income she and her husband had, to ensure the best education possible for all her children while strongly encouraging her three girls.

“My late mother was a strong, intelligent woman who faced sacrifices and difficulties [but] continued to push through the systematic boundaries of inequality in Pacific societies that tried to cage her,” he said.

“She continues to be my inspiration for the work I do.”

In his role at Pacific Women Lead (PWL) at SPC, Uate provides technical advice, assistance, and capacity building in the areas of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI). He also supports planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting for gender programming at the country and regional level, with a focus on the Pacific sub-region of Melanesia.

Having worked at the United Nations, Fiji Support Program Facility, Social Solutions International and now SPC, he continues his lifelong dedication to influencing systems and changing negative social norms in the Pacific that create barriers and fewer equal opportunities for women and young people.

“I was continuously volunteering for most of my youth with Youth Champs 4 Mental Health and the National Youth Council of Fiji,” Uate said.“That inspired my interest in advocating for gender equality and social inclusion. I want to help change the systematic and relational barriers that exist, so not all people have equal opportunities to access services, education, job and promotions, and to make equal decision-making in homes and communities.”

About Pacific Women Lead:
One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

The Pacific Women Lead (PWL) programme at the Pacific Community (SPC), termed PWL at SPC, has more than AUD 55 million dedicated to its work under the Australian Government’s AUD 170 million Pacific Women Lead portfolio. This partnership with the Australian Government commits SPC to deliver the PWL programme, as the cornerstone for the portfolio.