Brief: Women's Economic Empowerment
In this group of small countries, geographically dispersed across the vast Paciﬁc Ocean and far from international markets, economic growth is often uneven. Paciﬁc populations are mainly rural and rely largely on subsistence activities; women especially are heavily involved in informal economic activities. Women perform a greater share of food growing and in-shore ﬁshing activities, which limits their availability for formal employment, although they dominate many small-scale market operations. Between 75 per cent and 90 per cent of all market vendors in the Paciﬁc are women; hours are long, proﬁts are often low, and working conditions diﬃcult. Earnings make up a signiﬁcant portion of the incomes of many poor households. Despite this, women are excluded from market governance and decision-making.
The region is particularly vulnerable to the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, as well as other aspects of climate change, making food security a growing concern.
M4C works to strengthen the accountability and capacity of market management and municipal and provincial governments through the provision of training and technical support, laying the groundwork for local government to employ gender-responsive policies, procedures and decision-making processes that are receptive to the needs of market vendors, especially women. The project also has an infrastructure component, which focuses on improving onsite services at the design and construction phases to ensure that marketplaces are safe and more resilient to environmental shocks such as extreme weather events.