International Women’s Day (IWD) is globally commemorated every year on March 8. This day has been dedicated to celebrating the social, cultural, economic, and political achievements of women. It is a day of reflection and to highlight critical women’s rights issues and priorities. This day marks a call to action for accelerating women’s rights and equality.
The Pacific Community (SPC) through its Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division (former RRRT & SDP) has been commemorating this day for more than a decade. IWD activities within SPC has mostly been about increasing awareness on gender inequality and women’s rights issues, and just recently we have seen an increase in commemorating this day by other SPC divisions. For example- as part of the IWD activities, SPC will launch the Pacific Handbook for Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture. A joint initiative of the SPC Fisheries Aquaculture Marine and Ecosystem (FAME),HRSD and the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme. Other divisions such as LRD, GEM, CCES. EQAP and PHD have organised a few communication and awareness activities for IWD this year as well.
While we recognise the importance of continuing our internal SPC awareness work, our experiences have reinforced and reaffirmed the need for coherent and collaborative approaches for effective awareness strategies.
Over the years, SPC held events often highlighting the role and achievements of Pacific women and have used this opportunity to highlight SPC’s ongoing work in gender equality and social inclusion (GESI). This year HRSD has organised a “walk with her” activity. It is hoped that through these activities SPC can socialise Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) issues and have more open and frank conversations on how the region can progress gender equality and choose to challenge inequalities that exists for Pacific women and girls. While IWD is a day where we celebrate the achievements and progresses made - it is also a call to action. A call to action for everyone to push for the elimination of violence against women, to push for gender equality and protection of all women and girls. Let’s all #choosetochallenge inequalities that exists for Pacific women and girls in all their diversities.
Read and listen to the inspiring stories below highlighting women who are choosing to challenge the gender imbalances in the region by leading some the Pacifics most dynamic sectors: