Developing a Regional Voice Through a Feminist Forum: The case of the Pacific Feminist Forum

Research output: Working paper


This paper looks at building diversity and inclusivity into regionalism by Pacific feminist civil society. To explore the role of regional spaces in the Pacific in addressing the shrinking spaces of feminist civil society at the global level, this paper takes a deep dive into the role of the Inaugural Pacific Feminist Forum (PFF) in building alliances and generating a regional voice for Pacific feminists. The PFF, which took place in 2016 in Suva, Fiji, brought together over 100 women from 13 different countries in the Pacific region. The paper outlines how this forum was
designed, how participants perceived it, and what it achieved. Empirically, it draws on a document analysis of the Pacific Feminist Charter and over 20 interviews with participants and organisers of the forum, and a young women’s focus group conducted in Fiji in 2016. A close analysis of this material suggests that the PFF offered a crucial space for Pacific women to take a more coordinated and structured approach to their
collective action at the regional level. Furthermore, my analysis suggests that the Forum gave rise to the emergence of Pacific feminism as a ‘project identity’ – which is a temporal coming together under shared ‘interests’ rather than shared ‘identity’ for the purposes of crafting a regional voice for advocacy regardless of different understandings of feminism. The paper discusses the meaning of project identity for establishing regional alliances, and identifies the lessons learnt from the study of the PFF as a collective space advancing Pacific feminism despite various differences and disagreements among the participants.
Keywords: Pacific, feminism, inclusivity, diversity, project identity, forum
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherIGPA University of Canberra
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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NameWorking Paper Series


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