Today I launch the inaugural Progress Report of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development. 

Women in the Pacific face some of the highest levels of violence in the world. About 60 per cent have experienced violence by an intimate partner or family member – this is double the global average.

Gender inequality poses a significant development challenge for Pacific Island countries. Across the Pacific, men outnumber women in paid employment outside the agricultural sector by approximately two to one, and women occupy only a third of formal sector jobs.

Addressing violence against women and girls and ensuring gender equality is a priority for the Australian Government.

Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development is Australia’s flagship gender equality investment in the region, supporting women in 14 Pacific countries to participate fully, freely and safely in political, economic and social life. 

The program helps Pacific Island countries meet the commitments made in 2012 by their Leaders in the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration.

Since it started in 2012, Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development has helped 12,897 women and girls to access crisis support services, 1,716 women to undertake financial literacy training and 563 women obtain formal qualifications. The inaugural report showcases some of the 90 activities that have been implemented across 14 Pacific Island countries in partnership with Pacific governments and communities as well as multilateral and regional organisations.  

The report shows how Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development is improving services and strengthening gender equality and the advancement of women across the Pacific Island region. 

The Australian Government remains committed to working with our Pacific Islands partners to achieve gender equality and reduce domestic violence in our region. Through our aid program, Australia is working closely with Pacific communities and governments to ensure women have the political, social and economic opportunities to enable them to participate fully in their countries’ development.

The report, I launch with Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Deputy Secretary General Ms Andie Fong Toy, is available here: http://pacificwomenreport.org/

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