Vanuatu Women’s Leader
Commonwealth Point of Light 191. Ruth Ielo Mantifu
Ruth Ielo Mantifu, representing Vanuatu, aged 81, has been one of the country’s leading campaigners for women’s rights over the past 40 years, and a long-standing community leader on the island of Tanna and the wider Tafea province.
Ruth became the first president of the ‘Tafea National Council of Women’ in 1993, bringing women together over cooking, baking and sewing, and learning skills to help them be self-reliant. Ruth has helped break down cultural barriers in the community, becoming the first woman leader to be granted permission to stand in nakamals, traditional meeting places in Vanuatu, and to speak with chiefs and men in communities around Tafea.
Paul Lawrence, Acting UK High Commissioner to Vanuatu, said:
“I am delighted that Mrs Ruth Ielo Mantifu has been recognised for all her hard work and dedication through the presentation of this Points of Light Award by Her Majesty The Queen. As a leading member of the women’s community on Tanna, Ruth has worked tirelessly on women’s rights and equality for over 40 years, putting others before herself and helping make Vanuatu a fair and equitable society for all.”