- Focus Areas
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) is a 10 year program focused on enabling women and men across 14 countries in the Pacific to improve the political, social and economic opportunities for women. It reflects the Government of Australia’s commitment to work for improved equality and empowerment of women. Pacific Women will support Pacific countries to meet the commitments by Pacific leaders to work for gender equality.
The Pacific Region
The Pacific Islands region is vast and culturally diverse. Pacific island countries face many common challenges mostly related to geographic isolation, small dispersed populations and limited natural resources.
Gender inequality is of particular concern. Violence against women is widespread; women’s participation in political leadership is among the lowest in the world; and there are multiple barriers to economic participation and empowerment of women.
In 2012 the leaders of Pacific Island countries committed to the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration. Through the declaration they undertook to implement specific national actions to progress gender equality with particular attention to areas of gender-responsive government programs and policies, decision-making, economic
empowerment, ending violence against women, and health and education.
Australian Government policy has focused for some time on the importance of gender equality for national economic and social development. The Australian Government has that gender inequality in
the region is contributing to the undermining of long-term development.
Pacific Women Delivery Strategy
In 2012 a detailed Delivery Strategy was developed for Pacific Women. The Delivery Strategy established the interconnected nature of women’s disempowerment in the Pacific and the need for change across several areas including:
• Enhanced knowledge and evidence base to inform policy and practice;
• Strengthened women’s groups, male advocates and coalitions for change;
• Positive social change towards gender equality and women’s agency;
• Improved women’s leadership and decision-making opportunities;
• Increased economic opportunities for women;
• Reduced violence against women and expanded support services;
• Improved gender outcomes in education and health.
The Delivery Strategy also identified the strong support and interest in working for women’s empowerment and development across the Pacific and the need to build from existing knowledge andcapacity.
The Delivery Strategy established the higher-level development outcomes sought by the program and outlined an overall implementation approach which included regional and country level