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Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development fact sheet


Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) is a 10 year $320 million program. Pacific Women supports 14 Pacific countries to meet the commitments made in the 2012 Pacific Island Forum Leaders' Gender Equality Declaration and will work with Pacific governments, civil society organisations, the private sector, and multilateral, regional and United Nations agencies to achieve its intended outcomes:

  1. Women, and women's interests, are increasingly and effectively represented and visible through leadership at all levels of decision-making.
  2. Women have expanded opportunities to earn an income and accumulate economic assets.
  3. Violence against women is reduced and survivors of violence have access to support services and to justice.
  4. Women in the Pacific will have a stronger sense of their own agency, supported by a changing legal and social environment and through increased access to the services they need.
  • More than 60 per cent of surveyed women and girls in some Pacific countries have experienced physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner or family member.
  • Across the Pacific, men outnumber women in paid employment outside the agricultural sector by approximately two to one.
  • Women make up just 6.1 per cent of parliamentarians in the Pacific (the lowest rate in the world), compared to a global average of around 22.6 per cent.

Program delivery and implementation

Australia's support is primarily delivered at the country level. Individual country plans have been developed - in close consultation with Pacific women and men, their organisations and national governments - to guide implementation of activities. Regional and multi- country activities are funded to address common issues across the region and to complement and build on country activities. Since its launch in August 2012, approximately $90 million has been expensed on over 100 activities.

Women living with disabilities

Two country plans have activities that specifically target women living with disabilities, i.e. Cook Islands and Tuvalu. A member of the Pacific Women Advisory Board represents the interests of women living with disabilities. Country plan development has included consultation with women living with disabilities and disabled peoples' organisations.

In the first three years of Pacific Women:

  • 12,897 women have increased access to crisis support services
  • 4,716 women are participating in market decision making structures
  • 1,716 women have participated in financial literacy training
  • 563 women have obtained formal qualifications
  • 555 women market vendors are using banking services
  • 484 women have had formal opportunities to share their ideas and learn from each other

Samples of Pacific Women activities

Women's Leadership:

  • Building the capacity of Pacific women MPs, parliamentary staff and the institutions in which they work to better address gender inequalities.
  • Supporting women candidates preceding government elections in Samoa in March 2016 – practice parliamentary sessions were held in January 2016 to facilitate greater awareness and understanding of parliamentary procedures and debates. Similar sessions were also held in Nauru in February 2016 in preparation for the country's June elections.
  • Working with the Bougainville Women's Federation to support leadership and mentoring opportunities for young women in Bougainville.

Women's Economic Empowerment:

  • Improving infrastructure and management of produce markets in PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands so that women have a safer place to work and to support women's equal participation in local economies.
  • Supporting reforms in the coffee industry to open up cash cropping opportunities for women farmers in remote areas of Eastern Highlands Province of PNG. The program also aims to increase the number of skilled women agriculture extension officers directly supporting women.
  • Working with the Vanuatu Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Program to improve training and employment outcomes for women and girls in Vanuatu. During 2015, TVET Centres have supported the delivery of 105 skills development activities, including 16 accredited trainings, 63 Business Development Services workshops and 26 coaching / mentoring programs, reaching 285 women.

Reducing Violence against Women:

  • Funding services for survivors of domestic violence in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
  • Working with church leaders across 30 communities in Solomon Islands (targeting 10,000 women and men) through World Vision's Channels of Hope program and working with UnitingWorld across the Pacific to change attitudes and behaviours on violence against women and challenge gender stereotypes
  • Supporting enhanced understanding on human rights, governance democracy and the rule of law in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru and Vanuatu in collaboration with the Pacific Community's Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC RRRT)

Strengthening Organisational Capacity to deliver Gender Equality Outcomes:

  • Funding the Pacific Community (SPC) to undertake stocktakes of government capacity to integrate gender equality and women's empowerment issues. SPC is also strengthening the collection and analysis of data to better track outcomes.
  • Supporting Fijian women's groups and women-focused civil society organisations work towards gender equality through establishing a seven-year $10.5 million Women's Fund.
  • Providing technical assistance through Gender Advisors to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and the North Pacific to support the implementation of country plans and local capacity development.
Last Updated: 30 May 2014
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