AN idea that was discussed 16 years ago and was shelved again finally got off the ground in Nasova yesterday.
“The Corrections/Police Womens Forum, a platform to share resources, experiences and expertise and also to discuss issues which impact women in the Disciplined Service has been a long time coming,” says Actg Commissioner Salote Panapasa.
This opportunity presented itself when the Fiji Police Women’s Advisory Network in collaboration with the New Zealand Police was held at the Fiji Police Academy yesterday attended by 43 senior officers from across the five policing divisions and 11 Fiji Corrections officers.
The forum yesterday brought in keynote speakers in Senior Pastor from the CMFI Pastor Josefa Naka, Ms Jasmine Woollett NZ Police Senior Advisor, and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts Selina Kuruleca.
Commissioner Panapasa closed off the meeting sharing her experience on Leadership and how to maintain balance between work and family for women in the disciplined services.
Pastor Naka opened the proceedings with scriptures of women of faith in positions of leadership who through their motherly instincts and compassion wielded strong leadership qualities.
PS for Education Hon Selina Kuruleca, a career teacher of over 15 years and psychologist touched on the matter of how to maintain balance via healthy habits and presence of mind and attitude.
Ms Jasmine Woollett shared the data and comparative analysis of women in all areas of operation in the Fiji Police Force
Last, was Commissioner Panapasa who shared her experiences working her way to the top in her 37 years Career as a Corrections Officer.
“For us women, we are natural problem solvers, while men are more effective field operatives.
“The only problem we have here in Fiji is that woman in the Forces doubt themselves or lack empowerment and confidence.
“I am where i am today because I spoke my mind and i empowered myself through education and my own research so when i speak i know what i am saying.
“For us it is harder, we have to be strong, and where I come from in Corrections I had to be very strong due to the working environment.”
“Self empowerment is a very strong thing to do in helping build your own self confidence and capability and we do this by always trying to seek and learn.
Commissioner Panapasa said trying to maintain balance in life is always hard because all worked under different styles of leadership.
“But we must always attend to ourself well being first before we can tend to others, to be of service to others we must first ensure that we are ok first.
“This means, healthy habits, family time and learning when to give things a rest until the next working day- because many of us are also mothers and wives.
“Its important also as a woman to choose a good husband who supports your work in a male dominated field and who understands the challenges you meet.”
Course facilitator Senior Superintendent of Police Aseri Nakibo said the forum proved to be an eye opener, moved many to tears and also consolidated the future plans for further consultations between the two organisations.
“I think what we shared today will really help us attend to issues we face at work and also given us better insight into how we can do things.”
After the workshop, Commissioner Panapasa was accorded a traditional welcome by the Fiji Police Force as this was also her first visit since her appointment.