Setbacks fuel Ansu’s pursuit of empowering women


“A woman is someone who can do it all.”

Born and raised in the outskirts of Fiji’s second city, also known as the Sugar City, or Lautoka, Asishna Ansu learned at a very young age that with determination and grit, she could achieve whatever she sets her mind to.

Ms Ansu, who comes from a proud sugarcane farming background said, “I learned many life lessons from my dad. My brother and I would take water to the farm and my parents would take a water break. Western heat is a great motivator to aspire to a great profession. This is where I sowed the seed in my heart to excel in my study.”

“Because of what I learned at a very young age, I worked towards securing a scholarship throughout my high school years, and blessed that I got one in 2007 when I joined The University of the South Pacific (USP).”

She pursued a double degree at USP, attaining a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics, the second being in Management and Public Administration.

“My time at USP prepared me a lot for when I secured my first formal employment at one of the critical organisations in Fiji that caters to the daily needs of Fijians across the country, the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF).”

“I joined WAF, a male-dominated organisation, in 2010 as a Central and Eastern Division Human Resource Officer. As a woman in the organisation, I worked with men in various capacities. In the position, I realised that I could effect change to ensure the work environment is as inclusive as possible.”

“It’s here where I realised that my upbringing from a sugarcane background comes in handy as I was able to relate with employees and their struggles, and I remember back then I would take water to the farm and it was very similar. That is when I realised that, these men are not my competitors. They’re my team, and we needed to work together to reach a common goal.”

Whilst working for three years at WAF, the determined Lautoka lass continued to pursue her study, attaining a Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from USP.

“I was studying and also doing short courses at the same time. I became a Training Instructor and later joined the tourism industry, where I learned more about the sector and how I could improve myself.”

Ms Ansu joined Warwick Fiji working as Employee Relations Manager.

“I learned that women play many roles as mothers at home and in their workplaces as well. They juggle so many roles with the 24 hours of the day.”

“At home, they are expected to cook and do other chores before work. The same is expected of them when they finish work in the afternoon or evening.”

After a stint of five years in the tourism industry, Ms Ansu returned to USP, where she started working as a Facilitator for Human Resource Management before being promoted to the Coordinator for Professional Diploma Programmes with the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE).

However, like thousands of other women, she faced numerous challenges, including a divorce in 2018 that propelled her to pursue a Bachelor of Law with USP in 2019.

“I have encountered several setbacks in my life, and I used them to fuel my desire to excel in everything I set my mind on. I went through a divorce in 2018; it is something that no one would want unless it sets one free, to find one’s value and I knew my value. I was going through a lot at the time, so I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Laws degree at USP and focused all my energy and attention on my study, and I certainly was very determined.”

She added that women must recognise their strength and never quit or give up on their dreams.

The 33-year-old will be graduating at the Laucala Campus graduation ceremony in Suva, Fiji, at the end of this month which she dedicates to her father, her pillar of strength who unfortunately passed away in May of last year.

The inspiring Lautoka woman hopes to help women raise their voices to become included in various decision-making spaces where they can make a difference and gain an equal footing to access multiple opportunities.

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