6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

Mock Parliament in action in Kiribati. Photo: Charmaine Rodrigues/UNDP

Cook Islands, Niue and Palau are on track to achieving MDG 3, while PNG and the Solomon Islands are off track.

Pacific Island countries with the exceptions of PNG, the Solomon Islands and Tonga are expected to meet the goal of gender equality in education by 2015.

The share of employed women in the non-agricultural sector is between 30-50% of female labor force; but inequalities exist in wage rates, working conditions and overall opportunities in terms of descent work for all. While Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, PNG, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu have shown progress in expanding female employment in services and manufacturing, in FSM and Fiji the overall women employment has declined. The decline in Fiji is partially due to fewer employment opportunities within the garment industry. In almost all the Pacific countries the unemployment among women is generally higher in rural and remote areas.

The average number of women represented in the Parliament is below world average, with approximately 5.8% in all PICs. The Pacific Island Forum countries (not including Fiji) have only 3.5% women representatives in the MPs, the lowest average in the world. Currently, FSM, Nauru and Vanuatu have no women in Parliament, while Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu only have one female MP each. However, Kiribati and Samoa have female members of Cabinet.

Although Fiji has achieved gender equality in education it has not translated into the work-force, as there are many disparities prevailing such as lower payment for women and fewer women represented in the decision-making level.

Sources: 2012 MDGs Pacific Regional Tracking Report and UNDP Pacific Centre Annual Report 2012.

Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament