Australia is committed to driving human rights, democracy and equality throughout the Commonwealth.

Investment in gender equality is the right thing to do.  We cannot transform our world unless we transform the place of women within it. Australia is using its membership of the Human Rights Council to advance the rights of women and girls.

We are focussed on getting more girls into education across the Indo-Pacific. Education for all is a basic human right.

In September 2016, Australia signed up to the Statement of Action for Girls' Education.  In February this year, we pledged an additional $90 million to the Global Partnership for Education to support quality and inclusive education worldwide. This brings our investment in the Partnership to half a billion dollars since 2011.  And we are proud supporters of the Education Cannot Wait fund, so girls in conflict and crisis, like Muzoon, don't miss out.

Today, I am pleased to announce an additional $4 million to continue our support for the Commonwealth of Learning.  This will support them to deliver access to open and distance education across the Commonwealth and we welcome their renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific.

This will also support the second phase of their “Reaching the Unreached” project, aimed at providing education and training to 40,000 girls in rural and regional areas in South Asia.  This builds on our support for the program’s successful first phase which reached more than 25,000 girls.

I am also pleased to announce that Australia will commit $6 million to help close the Commonwealth digital identity gap.  If you don’t have an official identity, you are unable to access basic services such as health and education, secure fair work and pay, or participate fully in society.

The Commonwealth Digital ID initiative will catalyse progress towards the goal of providing a digitally enabled identity for every woman and girl in the Commonwealth by 2030.  With co-funding from the UK, this initiative will open up opportunities to education, health and work, giving women an equal place in society.

Australia looks forward to seeing a world where every woman, no matter where they live, can play a full and equal role in global prosperity.

 

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