Progress Highlights By Outcome

Women’s absence from many decision making forums in the Pacific inhibits countries from reaching their development goals. From family and clan groups that make decisions about land and marine resources, to senior posts in the public service, and in formal political bodies, women make up only a small percentage of those engaged in leadership. However, there are signs of progress across many sectors.

Women’s economic empowerment matters. Both for its own sake, but also because without sufficient access to and control over income and other resources, it is difficult for women to advance their leadership or escape violence in the home.

Violence against women and girls takes many different forms in the Pacific. These include intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual assault, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and harmful practices such as bride price and accusations of sorcery. Prevalence of these types of violence is high in the region; in most countries it is much higher than the global average of 30 percent. Rigorous surveys of intimate partner violence against women across the region show prevalence rates range from 68 percent in Kiribati, 64 percent in Solomon Islands and in Fiji, 48 percent in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and 33 percent in Tonga.

Efforts to enhance women’s agency need to work at multiple levels, to help create an enabling environment where a woman’s right to make decisions about her own life is recognised, where women are economically empowered and where women and children are safe from all forms of violence.