DR COLIN TUKUITONGA
DIRECTOR GENERAL, PACIFIC COMMUNITY (SPC)
SPC recognises the centrality of gender equality for sustained and inclusive Pacific growth. We have been a proud partner of Pacific Women since its inception. We have worked together on a regional program entitled ‘Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific’. This ground breaking program works with Pacific governments to mainstream gender equality through policies, programs and budgets. A second component is helping to ensure that Pacific governments and civil society organisations have the data and information that they need to develop policies and programs and to monitor and report on progress towards gender equality.
SPC’s recent paper on the Status of Gender Equality in the Pacific outlines the substantial achievements made in gender equality across the Pacific. It states that ‘The past 20 years have seen significant progress in gender equality being recognised as being an integral part of the economic, political, cultural and social development of Pacific Island countries and territories.’ However, the paper also documents that significant gender inequalities remain in all sectors of the Pacific community.
The SPC Director General is a member of the Pacific Women Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is an important accountability and transparency mechanism for Pacific Women. The Board is a diverse group of 12 Pacific women and men, who regularly meet to get an update on progress, discuss barriers and emerging issues, and who are able to question and guide the future direction of the program. The discussions are rich and fruitful and I believe do provide strategic direction for Pacific Women.
What is different about Pacific Women is that it is not one entity, but a program that consists of partners and activities across the whole of the Pacific. We are all essential to Pacific Women just as we are all essential to the Pacific’s response to gender inequality.