11th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women
(16–20 August 2010, Noumea, New Caledonia)
Women’s issues are attracting more attention in the Pacific, but progress towards gender balance in institutions and legislatures is slow and many women are still subject to violence, poverty and poor health care.
This is the overall report card that will be presented to 150 participants from 22 countries, non-governmental organisations, development partners and funding agencies from around the region at the 11th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women next week.
The meeting – a major forum held every three years – will be hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) at its headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia. The first formal session begins on Tuesday morning (17 August) and the conference will close on Friday (20 August) at midday.
Findings on the status of Pacific women are contained in the conference report Beijing+15, a review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Pacific Island countries and territories.
The report documents the persistence of high rates of violence against women, low proportions of women in all levels of decision-making and significant under-representation of women in the formal economy.
Although there is excellent advocacy on women’s issues in some areas and much better understanding and application of women’s’ human rights, the report notes the lack of gender balance in virtually all high-level national and regional bodies.
‘Pacific women in leadership positions are still a rarity rather than the norm,’ says conference organiser, Linda Petersen, Manager of SPC’s Human Development Programme.
‘Certainly there are policies and frameworks but these are not being translated into effective action, mainly because the region and countries lack strong institutional mechanisms to advance gender equality.’