Priyadarshinee Fallee – Mauritius

Priyadarshinee Fallee – Mauritius

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am a municipal counselor in Curepipe, and I think I have broken many boundaries in my work. I started getting involved in politics when I was only 16, and when I was 23, I became the youngest candidate for municipal elections for the labour party. At the time, I was also the only women contesting on the ballot in Curepipe. That meant when I was elected, it fell on my shoulders to represent the council any time there was work involving gender issues. That is how I got to know the work of Gender Links.

One of the most valuable things I’ve gotten from working with Gender Links has been coming to the 2012 Summit. Interacting with so many different people from SADC has been very eye opening for me. We have such different challenges, but we can learn so much from the each other’s work.

In Curepipe, for example, it often seems on the surface that we don’t have problems of gender. For example, I was always empowered and supported in my work. People propose me as the chair of committees; I’ve been particularly active as the chair of the sports committee. However, I’m the only woman in the council, so there are clearly gaps.

One think I’ve appreciated with Gender Links is that it has given me practical ways of making a difference in my work. For example, since I began in the sports committee, I asked the finance department to create a special allocation for the promotion of sports for women. With so many competing priorities, it can be difficult to convince people that promoting women is important. However, with the right tools, we can demonstrate how gender issues are about the whole community. We managed to do this, and we successful in getting the allocation. It’s still in place, which is very satisfying.

In Mauritius, we’ve seen a big change in gender equality in the electoral race; as you know, there’s now a quota that stipulates neither men nor women can constitute more than two thirds of any ballot. The upcoming elections will be the first time the quota will be implemented. It will be exciting to see how this will change the political landscape. Again, Mauritius can seem very progressive on gender issues in some respects, but on political representation we are far behind. At work, we find there is relative equality, with women able to do everything men can. But with these elections, the time has really come that women must stand for themselves; that everyone must stand for themselves for us to progress as a country.



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