|Issue three - August 2014
Delivered bi-monthly, Pacific Women E-News provides readers with information and updates on Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development - an Australian Government program focused on improving gender equality and women's empowerment across the Pacific.
Pacific Women Policy Makers’ Dialogue
On the 18 July 2014, Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott-Despoja hosted the inaugural Pacific Women Policy Makers’ Dialogue in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga.
Thirty Pacific women political leaders and senior government officials from 14 countries, including Australia, attended the Dialogue
Participants actively discussed ways to overcome barriers to women’s leadership and strategies to increase the impact of their decision-making positions. Key actions identified included strengthening links between senior women bureaucrats and women parliamentarians, building the skills of young women leaders, strengthening parliamentary processes to ensure new legislation addresses the needs of women, and working with male advocates to support change.
Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop is strongly committed to the empowerment of women, including supporting opportunities for increased women’s leadership.
The Tonga Dialogue is a first of a series of meetings that will take place in the next year for Australian and Pacific women leaders to meet and discuss important challenges that face women and girls in the Indo-Pacific region.
The dialogue Communique, which provides further details on topics discussed and proposed actions that to be taken forward can be accessed here.
New Approaches to Assessing Poverty Used in Fiji
Who is poor in Fiji, in what ways, to what extent? How is deprivation linked to sex, age, disability, location or ethnicity? This information is essential to developing informed, targeted policies and programs, and assessing what difference they are making over time. In most cases, we do not have this information.
The world measures the poverty of households, not individuals, so data cannot be accurately sex-disaggregated, making it impossible to know if women are poorer than men (or vice versa), or how poverty varies with age, disability or other factors. It makes it impossible to explore differences within households, as we know that resources and opportunities are not always equally shared, and decision-making and safety not equally enjoyed.
A new approach to assessing poverty, the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM), will overcome this problem. The result of an international research collaboration, including participatory research with thousands of poor women and men across six countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific (including Fiji), the IDM assesses 15 dimensions of life that poor women and men say define poverty.
Funded under Pacific Women, through the Australian bilateral program with Fiji, the International Women’s Development Agency is working with the Australian National University, an economist at the University of the South Pacific and the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, to undertake a study of poverty in Fiji using the new IDM. The research will inform the work of the Australian and Fiji Governments, NGOs and others in Fiji, and provide one baseline for assessing the difference Pacific Women is making and for whom. You can find more on the IDM here and here.
Article prepared by: Jo Crawford, the International Women's Development Agency
Gender Mainstreaming Stocktake
Gender equality cannot be addressed effectively unless action is robust and comprehensive. It requires a whole of government, multi-sectoral approach. This process of gender mainstreaming integrates the needs
of women and men in any planned policy, project or programme in all areas and at all levels.
The 2010 Pacific Review of the Beijing Platform for Action for the Advancement of Women found that gender mainstreaming had not progressed much in Pacific countries since the commitment was made in 1995.
Funded by Pacific Women, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has commenced the second phase of the Stocktake of Gender Mainstreaming Capacity of Pacific Island Governments programme. Tuvalu, Niue, Kiribati and Samoa completed their national stocktakes in 2013, with Fiji and Nauru undergoing the process in 2014.
The stocktakes are designed to determine the extent to which capacity for effective gender mainstreaming exists in national governments, and identify potential areas of strategic intervention to strengthen such capacity. Crucial to this process is the participation of central ministries such as planning and finance and the public service commissions. Informants are usually senior government officials at the Secretary or Deputy level and include those with direct responsibility for policy development and programme implementation.
Some of the common findings between countries include: misunderstanding of the concept of gender mainstreaming among public servants; a lack of understanding of ‘how’ gender mainstreaming works in practice and a lack of capacity to implement the process.
SPC’s work on gender mainstreaming is part of its overall approach to improving the lives of Pacific Islanders and contributes to PICTs national development priorities and commitments to gender equality.
Article prepared by Joanne Kunatuba, SPC
Women MPs Successful Mentorship
Australian Federal MP and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Anna Burke, and the Past Immediate Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament Nikki Rattle have much in common. Both women share a passion for enhancing women’s representation in parliament and are engaged in a mentoring relationship under the Pacific Women’s Parliamentary Partnerships (PWPP) mentoring exchange program.
Their relationship is about building confidence, sharing of relevant information and research and identifying barriers and effective solutions to overcome them. Strategising on making the electoral process more accessible and financially practical for women is also a focus of their mentoring relationship.
When Ms Rattle was appointed as Speaker of the House in 2012, she was mentored by the Speaker of Parliament in Perth. This involved observing sessions controlled by the Speaker of the House. Ms Rattle also had a similar opportunity to observe Parliamentary sessions in New Zealand.
Ms Burke has also visited the Cook Islands to provide support to Ms Rattle when she faced challenges due to her new position as Speaker. They also used this opportunity to strategize on issues yet to be encountered.
“After she left, some of these things [we discussed] popped up during the Sitting and so you have the confidence to be able to deal with it correctly instead of fumbling your way through,” Ms Rattle shared.
(L-R) Past Immediate Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament Nikki Rattle and Australian Federal MP Anna Burke. Photo: Pacific Women’s Parliamentary (PWPP) Partnerships
“I was reluctant [to become Speaker of the House] at first because it’s to do with politics, but I think if you’re serious about making a difference in your country then you accept the opportunities that come.”
Similarly, Ms Burke never wanted to go into parliament, despite being involved in a political party. She was approached when the party wanted a good candidate to represent its values.
Both Ms Burke and Ms Rattle see the value of the PWPP project and are committed to building relationships and continuing the dialogue to progress women's interests at the highest level.
An extended version of the interview can be accessed here.
Design Mission for PNG’s Second Pacific Women Country Work Plan
On 12 August, twenty-one women and men met in Port Moresby to discuss the design of PNG’s second Pacific Women
country plan. This was the first of a number of consultations that will be held as part of the design mission.
Dame Carol Kidu, a member of the design team stressed the importance of developing “fruitful, integrated partnerships as part of the plan”.
She spoke of the importance of the work, and described the design mission as the start of a process, “this is a complex nation with so much happening”.
The second plan will set the scene for Australian Government support under Pacific Women
over the next five years.
To date, AUD $8.4 million has been committed to programs in PNG under Pacific Women.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gender Counsellor Susan Ferguson told consultation participants that new ideas and programs were being sought for support under Pacific Women.
Participants identified lack of policy implementation as a key challenge to women’s empowerment in PNG, “we have to understand all our roles and responsibilities and understand how we come together to make it happen. Right now, there is too much fragmentation in relation to policies”
commented one consultation participant.
Consultation participants also identified the need to work with young people, in particular young women, and the importance of intergenerational leadership and working with young men. “We’ve got new generations of kids coming through and we need to support that. Men are also going through this change. Let’s support them and take the opportunity to work with them,"
said one of the participants.
(L-R) Karen Haive, YWCA of PNG, Ume Wainetti, Family Sexual Violence Action Committee and design team member, Dame Carol Kidu. They were part of a 21-member group consulted for the design mission for PNG'S second Pacific Women country work plan. Photo: Emily Miller, Pacific Women
The design mission will continue over the next few months and will include field trips to Daru and Kiunga in the Western Province, Goroka and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Consultations will be held with the Government of PNG, communities, non-government organisations (NGOs), International NGOs, mining companies and other private sector organisations and regional agencies and donor partners.