State of the Pacific 2018: Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality in the Pacific

Women make a huge contribution to Pacific economies, through formal, informal, subsistence and domestic labour and activities. Yet many women are largely economically invisible and vulnerable. Across the Pacific region, women are less likely than men to be employed in the formal sector, and in general earn less money than men. Access to key resources, such as land, can be very limited for women. This panel will examine the challenges of women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific: efforts to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas are safe, productive and inclusive working environments for vendors, who are predominantly women, through the Markets for Changes – Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Project; research into the link between women’s economic empowerment and violence against women, and how to improve women’s economic agency and economic security without compromising their personal safety; and how women’s economic empowerment issues intersect with other key gender equality challenges.

Chair: Kerryn Baker, Research Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Speakers: Sandra Bernklau, Technical Specialist Markets for Change, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office

Richard Eves, Senior Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU

Mele Fakatouato Mangisi, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Pauline Soaki, former Director, Women’s Development Division, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Solomon Islands.

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