Australia's Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment strategy applies across all work undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Australia's Ambassador for Gender Equality works to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are central to Australia's diplomatic, development and security efforts.
The Ambassador for Gender Equality advocates internationally for women's equal participation in political, economic and social affairs. The Ambassador advances global development, peace and stability by promoting gender equality and women's leadership and decision-making at all levels.
Ms Julie-Ann Guivarra was Australia’s most recent Ambassador for Gender Equality. Ms Sarah Goulding is the current Assistant Secretary of the Gender Equality Branch.
Follow the Ambassador for Gender Equality on Twitter.
Australia Condemns Sexual Violence as Weapon of War in Joint International Statement
The Australian Government is proud to join the international United Kingdom-led statement condemning the use of sexual violence and rape as weapons of war.
Strengthening international cooperation to combat sexual violence in conflict
Australia has joined a UK-led statement – with Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Liberia – to strengthen international cooperation to combat sexual violence in conflict.
Joint Statement of the inaugural Australian Government-Civil Society Engagement under Australia’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2021-2031
12 November 2021
Australian Government and Civil Society held their inaugural Engagement on 12 November 2021 to mark the start of a ten-year partnership under the second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2021-2031, releasing a Joint Statement on their commitment to ensure implementation is enriched by the perspectives, learning and evidence from Civil Society, in Australia and in our region.
UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security
Australian Statement: UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, 21 October 2021
MIKTA Joint Statement: UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, 21 October 2021
UN General Assembly Third Committee – 76th session
48th Session of the Human Rights Council
Australian Statement: Annual Discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms: The gender digital divide in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, 27 September 2021
Australian Statement: Interactive Dialogue on the analytical report of the HC on the current state of play of the mainstreaming of the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, 17 September 2021
47th Session of the Human Rights Council
Australian Statement: Annual Full-Day Discussion on the Human Rights of Women: Gender-Equal Socioeconomic Recovery from COVID-19, delivered by Ambassador for Gender Equality Julie-Ann Guivarra, 5-6 July 2021
Australian Statement: Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Elimination of discrimination against women and girls: SRHR in crisis, delivered by Ambassador for Gender Equality Julie-Ann Guivarra, 25 June 2021
Australia’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2021-2031)
The Australian Government is a committed global champion of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. We take seriously our UNSCR 1325 commitment to the advancement of WPS, ensuring that Australia continues to promote gender equality, protect the human rights of women and girls, and secure their full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and security processes.
Australia’s actions to implement these commitments across government are guided by our second National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS 2021-2031, a whole-of-government strategy developed in consultation with a host of civil society organisations. Building on the work of our first NAP 2012-18 on WPS, Australia’s second NAP 2021-2031 on WPS will deliver on the following four outcomes:
- Supporting women’s meaningful participation and needs in peace processes
- Reducing sexual and gender-based violence
- Supporting resilience, crisis, and security, law and justice efforts to meet the needs and rights of all women and girls
- Demonstrating leadership and accountability for WPS.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will coordinate whole-of-government action on Australia’s implementation of the second NAP. Across Government, implementing agencies under the second NAP include:
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Department of Defence (including the Australian Civil-Military Centre);
- Department of Home Affairs; and
- the Australian Federal Police.
The Australian Government will monitor progress against the four outcomes and provide progress reports to Parliament in 2023, 2025 and 2028. It’s anticipated that two independent reviews will also be commissioned to measure the effectiveness and implementation of the NAP, with the first expected in 2025 and a final review in 2030.
The 2021 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65)
Australia participated in the sixty-fifth session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) – the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. CSW65 was held between 15-26 March 2021 with a theme of “women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. Australia made a national statement, and joined statements by PIF member states, MIKTA, the UN Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, and the LGBTI Core Group.
- Australian National Statement [PDF]
- UN LGBTI Core Group Statement
- Pacific Islands Forum Statement
- Group of Friends for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls
- MIKTA Statement [PDF]
Australia also participated in Agreed Conclusions [PDF] negotiations – a non-binding document that makes recommendations to government, intergovernmental organisations, CSOs, and other relevant stakeholders – on actions to further accelerate progress and promote women’s political, economic and social rights.
UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Australia advocates for international standards and norms on gender equality in a range of multilateral forums. As a sign of our commitment to promote gender equality and end discrimination against women and girls, Australia nominated Ms Natasha Stott Despoja for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), who was elected into the Committee on 9 November 2020. Ms Stott Despoja was the sole candidate from Oceania. This is the first time Australia has served on the Committee in almost thirty years. View the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women's media release on the candidacy.
UNSCR1325 on Women Peace and Security +20
- Australian Statement: UNSC Open Debate on Women Peace and Security, 29 October 2020
- Group of Friends’ Statement: UNSC Open Debate on Women Peace and Security, 29 October 2020
- MIKTA Statement: UNSC Open Debate on Women Peace and Security, 29 October 2020
In addition, the Australian Ambassador for Gender Equality, Julie-Ann Guivarra, hosted a panel discussion ’20 Years of the Women Peace and Security agenda: Where are we Now?’ on 3 November 2020 with former UN Under-Secretary General and Initiator of the precursor decision leading to UNSCR1325 as President of the UNSC in March 2000, Ambassador Anwarul K Chowdhury, Commander of UN Forces in Cyprus, Major General Cheryl Pearce, and Director of the International Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Ms Lisa Sharland, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UNSCR1325 on Women Peace and Security on 31 October 2000. Be inspired: 20 Years of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Where Are We Now?
Australian Statement: High-level meeting on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, 1 October 2020 [Word 23 KB] | [PDF 115 KB] | Video:
45th Session of the Human Rights Council
Dignitary Address by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, 14 September 2020 [Word 25 KB] | Video:
44th Session of the Human Rights Council
Australian Statement: Panel COVID-19 and the Rights of Women and Girls, delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, 14 July 2020 [Word 119 KB] | [PDF 131 KB] | Video:
Australian Statement: Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Elimination of discrimination against women and girls, delivered by the Ambassador for Gender Equality Julie-Ann Guivarra, 7 July 2020 [Word 121 KB] | [PDF 77 KB] | Video:
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW)
Message from the Ambassador for Gender Equality Julie-Ann Guivarra and fellow Ambassadors from across the region to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, 25 November 2020 [Word 21 KB] | [PDF 138 KB] Video:
Pacific Women Leaders’ Meeting
Pacific Women Leaders met virtually on 29 May 2020 to discuss the gender implications of COVID-19 within the Pacific region.
Joint Statement by the co-convenors of a meeting of Pacific Women Leaders, Australian Foreign Minister and Minister for Women Marise Payne, and Samoan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment Fiame Naomi Mata’afa
The Ambassador for Gender Equality
In cooperation with the Australian Government Office for Women, the Ambassador for Gender Equality engages in international advocacy in support of Australian Government policies and programs to:
- Promote gender equality
- empower women and girls socially, politically and economically
- eradicate violence against women and girls
- eliminate discrimination against women and girls
- ensure better educational and health (including sexual and maternal health) opportunities and outcomes for women and girls
- eradicate trafficking in women and girls
- protect women and girls in conflict and promote the role of women in peace-building, and;
- enhance the participation of women in decision-making and leadership.
The Office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls was established by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and former Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis in September 2011. Ms Penny Williams was Australia's first Ambassador for Women and Girls, followed by Ms Natasha Stott-Despoja (2013-2016) and Dr Sharman Stone (2017-2019). On 8 March 2020 the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, announced Ms Julie-Ann Guivarra as Ambassador for Gender Equality, Ms Guivarra left the position on 1 October 2021. The creation of the Ambassador position reflects the Australian Government's active commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, including advancing the human rights of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ambassador for Gender Equality
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
255 London Circuit
Canberra City ACT 2601