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Gender equality

Australia's assistance for gender equality

Partnerships for Recovery and gender equality

COVID-19 is having profound health, social and economic impacts across the Indo-Pacific region. It is increasingly clear that the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on women and girls globally, impacting negatively on gender equality. Women are at greater risk of domestic violence; they perform the majority of unpaid care work; and are heavily represented in the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19 disruptions.

The risk is high that COVID-19 will roll back gains on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, leadership, safety and resilience. The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that we do not lose these gains.

Our responses to the COVID-19 crisis recognise these impacts. Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response highlights the challenges for women and girls. Gender equality is a cross-cutting objective of the strategy.

The Australian Government has a steadfast and ongoing commitment to be at the forefront of efforts to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on:

  • ending violence against women and girls
  • advancing women’s economic empowerment
  • enhancing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership and peace building.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that longer term recovery efforts are focused on delivering positive impacts for women and girls. The COVID crisis is an opportunity to rebuild back better, with women at the centre of the response and recovery efforts.

Partnerships for Recovery sets out how Australia’s development efforts will work alongside the full suite of our national capabilities. We will focus on accelerating progress towards gender equality through our diplomatic, development, trade and economic assets. The role of Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality (hyperlink to International Relations page), as a key international advocate for gender equality, is integral to this agenda.

How we are helping

Australia has committed $65 million for global and regional gender equality initiatives in 2020-21 (an increase over last year’s commitment of $55 million).

This complements our country-specific gender equality initiatives and the estimated $1.3 billion in ODA that contributes towards gender equality.

How we contribute

The Australian Government is strongly committed to being at the forefront of efforts to empower women and girls and promote gender equality in the Indo-Pacific region. We will advance gender equality across our development program, our foreign policy efforts and economic diplomacy. Reflecting this commitment, the Government appointed Australia’s Ambassador for Gender Equality, as a key international advocate for gender equality.

Australia will concentrate efforts in areas where there are persistent challenges to achieving gender equality. We will invest strongly in: ending violence against women and girls, advancing women's economic empowerment and enhancing women's voice in decision-making, leadership and peace-building. We will:

  • work with partner governments and regional organisations to advance their own gender equality priorities
  • support women's organisations and coalitions, including women entrepreneurs, women's associations and service providers for women, wherever possible and appropriate, recognising the lead role of these organisations in creating change
  • recognise that women are not a homogeneous group, paying particular attention to girls, those with disabilities, women from marginalised groups and socially and economically disadvantaged women
  • work in partnership with the private sector, civil society organisations and other donors, and engage the media, schools, parliamentarians and local government as gender equality champions wherever possible
  • work with men and boys as advocates for gender equality and women's empowerment where that is appropriate, including to address forms of masculinity that hinder progress
  • closely scrutinise our funding for multilateral organisations, including the United Nations, the multilateral banks and the Commonwealth to ensure they effectively integrate gender equality into their activities
  • apply gender equality considerations across the full range of funding mechanisms, including core funding, grants and funding through partner government systems
  • seize opportunities as they arise to promote gender equality and women's empowerment, apply the 'do no harm' principle and identify and mitigate risks
  • remain engaged in global efforts to protect achievements on gender equality and continue to advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, including calling out actions that undermine the human rights of women and girls, particularly through our engagement in multilateral fora including the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly.

As laid out in Partnerships for Recovery, an effective response to the COVID-19 crisis demands that we work closely with others to maximise our collective impact.

Further information on programs addressing gender equality can be found at Partnerships for recovery and gender equality.

Further information on our Pacific programs addressing gender equality can be found at Pacific Regional - Empowering women and girls.

Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response

Related documents

  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy 2016
  • Development fact sheet
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