18 Apr 2024

Pacific women discuss economic roadblocks in Nauru

11:46 am on 18 April 2024
The Micronesian Ministers for Women Conference in Nauru.

the Micronesian Ministers for Women Conference in Nauru. Photo: Pacific Women Lead Facebook

Violence, health, disability, culture and education are holding women back from an economic standpoint, a manager from Pacific Women Lead says.

Speaking at the Micronesian Ministers for Women Conference in Nauru, the organisation's programmes manager Tara Chetty highlighted the barriers women in the region.

Delegations from the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, Palau, Marshall Islands and hosts Nauru have been gathering for the event, which runs from 16-18 April.

They were to discuss and coordinate their subregional priorities for gender equality, and to prepare for the Triennial Conference of Pacific Women.

Chetty said in general, women have a lower rate of labour force participation, work in the informal economy, carry the burden of unpaid care work, and are more susceptible to impacts of climate change and disaster.

SPC principal strategic lead for Pacific women and girls, Mereseini Rakuita said the conference focused on four critical priorities for gender equality; women's economic empowerment, violence against women and girls, women's health and education; with the cross-cutting themes of disabilities and culture.

Rakuita said business as usual could not continue, while expecting a different result.

"In the Pacific, we keep hearing that so much has been spent on gender equality, and yet we are not shifting the dial as quickly as we would like to see," she said.

"We have been treating gender equality as a women's issue only for far too long.

"Gender equality is about national development; it is about human rights; it is about sustainable economies and peaceful societies; it is about recognising that half of our Pacific population are women and girls, and as such, their voices, interests, concerns, aspirations and leadership are needed, if we are to unleash our full potential as a region."

Rakuita said the Micronesian sub-region is well-positioned to accelerate the implementation of collective aspirations under the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration, and the Pacific Platform for Action on gender equality.

The conference wraps up on Thursday.

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