Advancing Gender Justice in the Pacific
Increasing women’s participation in leadership and decision-making is not only critical for achieving gender equality, it is also essential for general economic and social development. Studies have found that longer exposure to women’s political representation increases women’s overall labour force participation, the share of public employment opportunities allocated to women and women’s increased access to public goods such as roads and health services.
The Pacific region has the world’s lowest levels of representation of women in parliaments (6%)1 and local government2. It is also home to four of the countries in the world without any women in their lower or single house of parliament: Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Tokelau and Vanuatu.
This absence of women in decision-making and leadership is largely a result of negative gender stereotypes, encouraged by socio-cultural norms, and processes such as inherently biased justice structures and systems. Fortunately, the opportunity to reverse these inequalities through gender-responsive justice lies within these very same structures.