“Each time a Woman stands up for herself, without knowing possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all Women”. Maya Angelou.
Noia e’ mauri, Malo Bula, Ni sa Bula maleka, Kiora, Namaste and warm greetings to everyone. My Name is Lucy Tifere and this is my story…………
I am currently a second year student of Fiji National University, pursuing Bachelors of Engineering with Honors and specializing in Electronics Engineering (System and Control). I hail from the beautiful islands of Fiji. I share Paternal Links to Juju, Rotuma and in Wainibuka, Tailevu & Maternal Links to Matuku, Lau and in Qoma Island, Tailevu.
Growing up, I was often reminded of the role of a woman in her family. The picture painted by society of how a woman should act or behave constantly rebutted in head even at a tender age. Most of which represented good qualities such as basics of a good cook, while only a few tormented my mindset. For decades, Women in Pacific have suffered trying to live up to the expectations of society but I believe that it time for us to take our stand.
I have always aspired to become the first I-taukei Woman to venture in Robotics Engineering but unfortunately, this coarse was not offered locally. I was than advised by the Head of School to take up Electronics Engineering which would enable me easily go into robotics later on in life. I am also the only female alongside 4 other students taking up this coarse.
It was always expected of me to pursue my career in the medical field. A lot of people were disappointed and doubted my decision of entering the STEM community. I had faced my fair share of obstacles that I had to overcome in order to turn my decision into reality. This award has not only given me an opportunity to be debt free but also has given me a chance to prove my doubters wrong.
It is such an honor and privilege to be selected as one of the recipients of the Pacific Awards 2022. I would like to thank, Graduate Women NZ and Graduate Women FJ for giving me this special opportunity. I am so grateful and blessed to have received such good news and I reassure you that it is my mission to not only make my mark in the STEM community but to also constantly encourage and empower young women of the Pacific to go beyond their boundaries. I would also like to thank my gracious heavenly father, my parents and family members but most especially the women of the family who have made it happen with or without the help men.
In my first two years in the STEM community, I have noticed that social stereotypes are also still highly noticeable in school. Women are often doubted of their abilities of being in a field that is highly concentrated with Men. I have experienced scenes whereby groups of men have come up with predictions that girls would not even make through a quarter of the semester even without reasoning their assumptions. Some would even raise their eyebrows as a sign of disbelieve whenever I would mention the coarse I had up taken. With all this pressure, some Women have even given up on their dreams.
I believe that with the right mindset and motive; we can overcome any obstacle in life. I have constantly tried to gain the approval of lecturers and students in order to fit into the crowd. My hard work and determination had not come out unnoticed as I was selected to be the class representative of my year.
I was constantly reminded at a young age that “Real flex is how many wounds you can turn into wisdom just as pressure is used to turn dust into diamond”. You can never control the situations you go through in life but you always have a choice to change that negative into a positive. I am determined to make my dream a reality even if I have sit in room full of Men, nothing will stop me from finishing this race.
Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu!.
Even in the 21st Century, Women in Pacific are still subjected to keep silent. Even though we make up half the population, there is still evidence that women are frequently robbed away from their privileges such as ‘freedom of speech’. I believe that by educating women, such privileges would be adhered. Just as Women play such a vast role in the elevation of our society, I believe that it is equally important to have the same rights and respect Men are constantly given.