For most who have been fighting for women’s rights, equal access to services and opportunities regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, and background, International Women's Day (IDW) is a call to action. A call to push for the elimination of all forms of violence, to push for gender equality and protection of women and girls. It is an opportunity to shine the light on the gains made and an opportunity to pause and reflect on the challenges that have hindered equal access to services and opportunities; and emphasise the need to resource critical action. It is a reminder to translate and contextualise regional policy into multi-year programmatic investments which address targeted actions on gender equality, inclusivity, and diversity.
Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies, including the Pacific Community (SPC) play a key role in being agents of change. Agencies that must be catalysts in the day-to-day work of making gender equality and human rights norms, mechanisms, and systems relevant and relatable in the lives of Pacific women, men, boys, and girls in all their diversities.
Advancing gender equality should not be solely driven by women’s human rights activists; women, Ministry of Women, social welfare and/or social development ministries, departments, and divisions. It is a development issue which needs multi-sectoral, multi-layered, and multi-partner approaches.
Over the years, we have been engaging with member countries and partners to enhance national strategies and boost capabilities. Ongoing collective action is urgently needed to break the bias and bridge the gap between the rhetoric and action, between theory and action, and to mobilise sustainable multi-year financing to fast-track implementation, reporting, and monitoring of gender equality and social inclusion initiatives.
This year’s IWD theme is to #BreakTheBias. It is a timely reminder and call to recognise that conscious and unconscious biases exist in all. We need to move beyond recognising and understand why the biases exist and to push for an equitable society-for women and men, girls, and boys.
As Pacific people, we can act today and every other day to break the biases that occur in our homes, communities, and workplaces. We need to learn to recognise and respond to deliberate and unconscious biases. We need to collectively muster the courage to call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping. We need to forge relationships built on shared commitments to protecting and promoting women’s and human rights at a regional and national level, and to respect and celebrate women, men, boys and girls in all their diversity.
For more information, please contact:
Veena Singh, Gender Research Officer, Human Rights and Social Development Division, Pacific Community (SPC) | [email protected]
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 a day to highlight critical women’s rights issues and priorities. This day marks a call to action for accelerating women’s rights and women’s equality. This year the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) and the CROP Women of the Waves (WOW) network have jointly organised a webinar on 8th March with Pacific women leaders sharing their experiences and insights on this year’s IWD theme, “break the bias.” CROP Women of the Wave (WOW) Network is a regional platform that aims to support, enable, and inspire women in their work roles and leadership aspirations, and to expand the connections and career opportunities for women across CROP agencies.