Vote for FRETILIN!
2007 Parliamentary Elections
"Defending Timor-Leste's independence"
24 June 2007
Literacy and primary health care campaigns vital for women
Campaigns to promote literacy and primary health care in Timor -Leste
(East Timor) are vital elements of the FRETILIN government's drive for
greater female participation in the economic, social and political
life of the nation, according to FRETILIN parliamentary candidate and
current Vice Minister for Education and Culture, Ilda da Conceicao.
Ms da Conceicao, a former a guerrilla fighter and organiser of the
Popular Organisation for Timorese Women (OPMT) continued:
"This is why FRETILIN will fund scholarships and incentive payments to
assist women and young girls to complete their education from primary
school all the way to tertiary institutions," she said.
"Women are one of the three main groups we are targeting in our
National Literacy Campaign, not only as participants but also as
literacy tutors. It is well known that when women learn to read and
write there is a big improvement in their confidence and they are more
likely to assert themselves politically and economically.
"Improvements in literacy also reduce infant mortality and improve the
overall health of women and children."
Ms da Conceicao said the FRETILIN government has also focused primary
health care on improving the health of mothers and children and
improving reproductive health practices.
"Timor-Leste has the highest fertility rate in the world –7.8 children
per woman of child bearing age – and between 42- 80 per 10,000 women
die giving birth. A combination of primary health care and education
can help reduce these figures."
She acknowledged that FRETILIN still has more to do to promote women's rights.
"Some of our opponents have criticised FRETILIN for not passing
domestic violence legislation. However, we are preparing this
legislation to include in the new penal code, which is a long and
difficult process. Timor-Leste has a developing justice sector and its
inability to deal effectively with domestic violence is a legacy of
"FRETILIN knows better than any party that women are the victims of
war, and that violence against women continues when the conflict
"FRETILIN has promoted women's rights and gender equality since its
formation in 1974. It pioneered the women's rights movement in
Timor-Leste and established OPMT in 1975, the first Timorese women's
organisation," she said. "FRETILIN promoted women's rights during the
resistance and the struggle continues up to the present. The FRETILIN
government set up the vulnerable persons unit in the PNTL (police
force) which combats crime against women and children.
"We must all redouble our efforts to change community attitudes. It is
the duty of men to work together with women on this. We call on all
political parties to make a commitment to campaign against violence
against women. We must demand the highest standards of our own
political leaders, who must set an example."
For more information, please contact:
Ana Pessoa (+670) 723 0014 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org