Pacific Women highlight gender in regional conference

Giulia Saravini Lazzarotti May 27th, 2021

The 14th conference about women empowerment and gender-based violence in the Pacific took place from the 27th to the 29th of April in French Polinesia.
Another important conference took place right after: the 7th meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women.
These were important occasions to talk about the women future in the area, especially after the covid-19 pandemic.
The virus has exacerbated an already precarious situation for girls and women, said Fiji’s Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Vuniwaqa continued stating that the crises could be an opportunity to speak out about the problem that girls and women face every day and try to transform society and take actions.

“This work is for all women and girls in the Pacific. Those who carry most of the responsibility for holding our societies together during the pandemic, be it at home, in health care, at school, markets and across all fields.”

Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Fiji’s Minister for Women

The minister for women of French Polynesia, Isabelle Sachet, said that there is much to celebrate in the region with the progress of gender equality. However, at the same time, there is still a lot of works to do.

“The added challenges of COVID-19 and climate change on women and girls within our various countries will make our work even harder. However, we have taken a bold step by accepting this Outcomes Document.  In three years’ time, we will look back at this process and what we agreed on through this virtual meeting with pride.”

Isabelle Sachet, French Polynesia Minister for Women

The conference called on governments, with the help of civil society organisations (CSOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs), Council of  Regional Organisations of the Pacific agencies (CROP), development partners and the private sector, to carry out three main actions.

The first of these actions would be the increased women participation in the decision-making process in the public and private sector and politics. Another vital aspect concerns the legislation and the application of ad hoc budgets for gender issues, such as expanding opportunities for women in industries and critical sectors, gender-based violence preventions and survivors programme.
The last point is making sure that marginalised groups and women can participate in the decision-making process related to climate change and disaster risk management and that such policies include gender indicators.The conference has been attended in-person and virtually by more than 1000 people.

The next appointments with the triennial conference of Pacific Women and the Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women will be held in the Republic of Marshall Islands.

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