Digital feminism in Fiji

USP logoThis research project explores how feminists and women’s rights activists in Fiji are using digital technologies. It is a collaborative project with researchers at the University of the South Pacific.

During Fiji’s 2014 elections, social media – especially Facebook – was widely used as a campaigning tool by candidates. A recent study (Finau et al. 2015) has shown how social media in Fiji is also evolving as the ‘new and safe’ space for political discourse: young, technologically savvy citizens are using social media to engage with information that is restricted in the traditional media by political constraints and reporting restrictions. Young people in Fiji increasingly turn to social media for information about political issues and to discuss those issues with their peers, or to find information about their preferred political parties. Further, the internet is among the few spaces outside mainstream politics that are accessible to minorities and women’s activism (Greene 2005).

To examine digital feminism and activism, the study uses qualitative data from in-depth focus groups and interviews involving graduates of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s Emerging Leaders Forum and other feminists who use social media for their activism. The study also draws on content analysis of social media, primarily Twitter and Facebook forums such as Take Back the Streets, which was created to document instances of harassment against women.

Early results, presented at the 2016 Australian Association for Pacific Studies annual conference, provide examples of both the effective use of social media to promote human rights, and of the risks and challenges faced in doing so. Findings will be published later this year after further data analysis.

Research team:

Tait BrimacombeTait Brimacombe (DLP Research Fellow, La Trobe University; team leader) 

Team members from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji (left to right) – Glen Finau, Romitesh Kant, Jope Tarai and Jason Titifanue:
 

Glen Finau

Romitesh Kant Jope Tarai

Jason Titifanue

 

Main image:  Young activits promote the message of ending violence against women at a workshop in Fiji (UN Women/Ellie van Baaren)

Related items

Gender analysis, and thinking and working politically – bridging the gap

Guest post on Devpolicy  introducing panels at this week's Australasian Aid Conference

Opinion by Chris Roche 14th February 2017

Political analysis as the practical art of the possible

Bringing politics back into PEA - a new paper with Adrian Leftwich

Opinion by David Hudson 24th July 2014
Opinion by Susy Ndaruhutse 11th September 2014

Masculinity and sexual violence in India

Will the shocking Nirbaya case shift attitudes?

Opinion by Martin Rew 16th September 2015

Fiji's Roshika Deo - outlier, positive deviant or simply feisty feminist?

First in a series on 'Power, politics and positive deviance', theme of DLP's 2016 annual conference.

Opinion by Priya Chattier 1st February 2016

Does talking about corruption make it seem worse?

Guest post for The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network

Opinion by Alina Rocha Menocal 15th October 2015

‘Crows who come in search of dollars’: NGO legitimacy in conflict zones

Do political dynamics affect NGO legitimacy more than performance?

Opinion by Oliver Walton 19th August 2014

Identifying rebels with a cause (and effect)

'Power, politics and positive deviance' is the theme of DLP's 2016 annual conference.

Opinion by Chris Roche 1st December 2015
Opinion by Heather Marquette 9th March 2015

Innovation: transactional or transformative?

Given the fascination with 'innovation' in the field of development, it's time to discuss what the word might mean.

Opinion by Chris Roche 23rd March 2015

Climate change and adaptation in the Pacific Islands: watering down women's security?

How women leaders are challenging a narrow adaptation agenda.

Opinion by Nicole George 7th March 2014
Opinion by Caryn Peiffer 5th February 2015

Gender - the power relationship that Political Economy Analysis forgot?

Why more questions about gender relations could help

Opinion by Evie Browne 13th February 2014

The road to transparency in resource-rich Myanmar

Myanmar's EITI process and its contribution to broader reform

Opinion by Taylor Brown 1st April 2016

Medellin - more than a miracle

From the most murderous city on earth to 'a new global standard for urban policy': the politics of change in the wake of crisis

Opinion by Cheryl Stonehouse 4th March 2014

Adding gender and power to the TWP agenda

Why bring gender into Thinking and Working Politically?

Opinion by Sally Moyle 6th August 2015

Is education a magic bullet for addressing corruption? Insights from Papua New Guinea

This post for Devpolicy unpacks the findings of a new Development Policy Centre / DLP paper 

Opinion by Grant Walton 17th June 2015

Neither 'good guys' nor 'bad guys': Positive engagement with armed groups

Final post in a series on 'Power, politics and positive deviance', theme of DLP's 2016 Annual Conference.

Opinion by Suda Perera 5th February 2016

Corruption: is the right message getting through?

The unintended consequences of raising awareness of corruption

Opinion by Caryn Peiffer 12th August 2015

Security and justice – the mismatch between policy and practice

What hinders more politically nuanced security and justice programming?

Opinion by Shivit Bakrania 21st July 2014

Pacific power: new femininities and women's leadership in the Pacific

The educated, internationally connected women who are changing the way 'development' is done

Opinion by Ceridwen Spark 24th June 2014

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

'How Change Happens': Birmingham seminar with Duncan Green

Monday 9th January 2017

What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? Join Oxfam's Duncan Green on Thursday 19 January to discuss the themes of his new book 'How Change Happens'. The presentation will be followed by a drinks reception and book signing.

Read more

Islands of integrity: funding award for DLP corruption research

Friday 2nd December 2016

DLP research on how to effectively fight corruption has won funding from the British Academy's Sustainable Development Programme, part of the UK government's Global Challenges Research Fund.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog