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Gender equality

Summary of Consultations on the New International Gender Equality Strategy

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) undertook broad consultations to inform the development of the new International Gender Equality Strategy, including over 40 round table discussions with more than 600 stakeholders in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. DFAT received over 90 written public submissions from diverse stakeholders, including individuals and Civil Society Organisations, academic institutions, development contractors, multilateral organisations, consortia and the private sector. DFAT's overseas network consulted with partner governments, civil society representatives and other local actors. DFAT consulted across the Australian Government. A series of desk reviews were conducted, including an analysis of data on gender equality in the Indo-Pacific.

Summary of key messages received from consultations and public submissions

  • The strategy should promote gender equality across DFAT, in trade, security, foreign policy, development and humanitarian assistance.
  • The strategy should align with Australia's domestic policy settings on gender equality, international human rights, the First Nations approach to foreign policy, new development policy, and forthcoming international strategies on disability equity and rights, LGBTQIA+ human rights engagement, and humanitarian assistance.
  • Australia's leadership on gender equality is valued as in bilateral partnerships, as a partner to civil society and local actors, and as a trusted, values-based broker in multilateral settings.
  • Promote gender and First Nations Leadership, share Australian First Nations gender equality priorities.
  • DFAT's reinstated target for 80 per cent of all development investments will address gender equality effectively. The requirement for investments of $3 million and above to include gender equality objectives is widely felt that this will improve performance and impact.
  • Continue the twin-track approach to gender equality and take a gender transformative approach to support lasting progress on gender equality, addressing the discriminatory norms that underpin gender inequality.
  • Promote the leadership of women with disabilities, including in natural disaster and conflict response and include them in planning and implementation processes.  Promote the leadership of women with disabilities in the wider disability movement and in the women's rights movement.
  • Prioritise gender-responsive and inclusive climate action on mitigation, adaptation and response, and diverse women and girl's leadership in these efforts at the local, regional, and global levels.
  • Integrate the women, peace, and security agenda, including in new areas such as cyber security, and space. Increase efforts addressing sexual violence in conflict. Deepen DFAT's priority on gender equality in humanitarian response in disaster and conflict settings.
  • Promote disability equity and rights and LGBTQIA+ equality, in gender equality advocacy and development.
  • Increase locally led approaches to gender equality and partner with local actors, resource local women's rights organisations, and advocating for their involvement and protection in regional and international fora.
  • Retain women's economic equality, women's leadership and preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence as priorities. Increase gender-lens investing and promote women's economic participation. Address technology facilitated gender-based violence, including as a leadership issue. On women's leadership and voice, support leadership to address structural barriers and harmful norms that hinder equal decision-making, including in and through education at all levels.
  • Promote inclusive trade, and work with the private sector. Promote workplace gender equality, address women's unpaid care burden, maximising opportunities for informal and formal sector economic participation.
  • Recognise Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) as core health issues and as central to achieving gender equality and ensure people with disability and LGBTQIA+ people can access SRHR initiatives.
  • Support education, technology and digital transformation, policy and legal reform, data and research.
  • Engage with young people, and support spaces for adolescent young women as leaders in their communities.
  • The strategy needs an intersectional approach, recognising that different forms of marginalisation or sources of exclusion exacerbate one another, including age, disability, ethnicity or caste, poverty and LGBTQIA+ identity.
  • Build DFAT's internal capacity, on gender equality and foreign policy and development programming, and Include accountability or review measures, to track progress.
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