‘Women have as much right to over-consume kava as men’
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre says that women who drink kava usually ensure they do their share of work around the home and in the village.
FWCC Coordinator, Ms Shamima Ali was responding to comments made by the Deputy Secretary for iTaukei Affairs, Mr Saimoni Waibuta on government’s proposed village by-laws.
ALI: “In this case, men express their disapproval at the minority of women who do love consuming kava until the early hours of the morning. These women have just as much right to over-consume kava as men, yet the focus is taken away from the men and placed on the women as supposedly setting a bad example,”
Ms Ali said that while Mr Waibuta had said the issue of excessive kava drinking also involved men, the burden of blame for this problem should not be put on women.
Mr Waibuta yesterday told a meeting in Tailevu that village elders had informed him about the consumption of kava by iTaukei women, according to the Fiji Sun.
WAIBUTA: “Some issues men have complained that during every kava session in iTaukei villages, the women can go on till the early hours,”
Mr Waibuta said that “over-consumption of kava in iTaukei villages had an impact on an individual’s productivity.”
WAIBUTA: “Sometimes parents usually leave their children at home without supervision, and they join other people for kava consumption. Sometimes children are left unsupervised and lead to problems, and I hope that parents in these iTaukei settings will reduce kava consumption and spend more time with their children,”
Ms Ali said Mr Waibuta correctly pointed out that sometimes children are left unsupervised while the parents are out drinking kava.
ALI: “Parenting responsibilities should be shared equally, but often we expect only the mother to be at home looking after the children and doing the housework while the father is out consuming kava with friends until all hours. The minute the mother decides that she too would like to attend a kava session, people – usually men – express their dismay at the woman because she is going against what society dictates women’s roles should be.”