A song specially composed for the Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders meeting has helped energise outcomes for the event. ‘This is Us’ was presented by the PIFWLM chair Minister for Women and Internal Affairs, Vainetutai Rose Toki Brown. She announced the number and launched it at the Suva meeting, with the catchy tune playing on loop as the sessions broke for afternoon tea and drafting work. The song was inspired by the challenges faced by Pacific Islands women and expresses a poignant reality for many would-be and present leaders struggling to lift numbers and representation at the decision-making table. The Pacific continues to lag behind other regions of the world when it comes to numbers of women in politics.
Composed by Tuaine Manavaroa Jnr, and performed by well-known musicians Tina Koronui Herman, and Kutia Tuteru, The This is Us lyrics and video resonated with many sharing their own experiences in politics during the closed sessions:
I am a woman/Pacific woman/Nurtured raised… to be brave/Despite when heroes…..fall from grace/I remain standing/My heart shines so bright/I am a woman…I am strong, fierce as the waves of our ocean/Just as giving as the richness of our seas/I am turbulent, robust as the swaying trees/Unite us and shelter us as the woven leaves/When it’s hard to bear/when life seems unfair/I stand strong to declare/This is me, I am a woman/This is me, forever unshaken/This is me, the pillar of my home/This is me, a valuable stronghold/this is me, a strong Pacific Islands women — This is us, we are Pacific women/this is us, forever unshaken/ this is us, the pillar of our homeland/This is us, a valuable stronghold/This is us, strong Pacific Islands women.
The creative effort for the song comes as the Cook Islands prepares to host Pacific Islands Forum Leaders this November to the 52nd annual meeting. It will be a moment for the Leaders to also launch a revived commitment to the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration launched at the 2012 Forum, also in the Cook Islands, which was attended by the former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and chaired by Henry Puna, who was Prime Minister at the time. —ForumNews