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Development assistance in the Pacific

Pacific regional – empowering women and girls


This page gives an overview of Australia’s work in the gender equality and empowerment sectors under Pillar 1 (Health Security), Pillar 2 (Stability) and Pillar 3 (Economic Recovery) of Australia’s Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.

Pacific women are hardworking, creative and resilient. They make significant contributions to their societies and economies and there is a growing recognition among governments and the private sector that investing in women and girls has a powerful effect on economic growth and wellbeing. However, women and girls face significant challenges. Up to 60 per cent of women and girls in our region have experienced violence at the hands of partners or family members. The Inter-Parliamentary Union reports that globally, women comprise 25.5 per cent of national parliamentarians (world average as at January 2021), but the percentage of women in Pacific parliaments is currently around 6.4 per cent. Across the Pacific, men outnumber women in paid employment (outside the agricultural sector) by approximately two to one, and men earn 20 to 50 percent more than women.

The Australian Government is strongly committed to supporting women and girls to access opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.

Related initiatives

Pacific Women Lead ($170 million 2021 to 2026)

Pacific Women Lead is Australia’s regional gender program to ensure that Pacific women and girls, in all their diversity, are safe and equitably share in resources, opportunities and decision-making, with men and boys.

The program focuses on women’s leadership, women’s rights and increasing the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.  The program’s funding is additional and complementary to Australia’s bilateral gender investments.

Key partners are the Pacific Community (SPC) and Pacific women’s organisations.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Thematic Brief – Gender and COVID-19 [PDF] 2020 Fact sheet
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development: Six year evaluation report and management response 2020 Report and management response
Pacific Women Lead Design Framework 2021 Design document
Pacific Women Lead Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework 2023 Evaluation document
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