Design of a new Gender Equality Program

From Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) initiated the co-design of a new regional gender equality program (tentatively titled ‘Pacific Women Lead’) in October 2020.  The new program will build on the strength of Pacific Women with an emphasis on partnering with Pacific organisations and with Pacific women to drive this new program. It will respond to the impacts of the pandemic on women and girls in our region, as well as to long-term challenges, such as harmful gender norms.  It will be a regional program that supports regional as well as bilateral investments.

Design Team

The Design Team includes representatives from DFAT, Pacific Women Support Unit, Pacific Women Advisory Board, and the Pacific Community (SPC).  This has lent gender technical and Pacific expertise to the design process, and supported the objective of co-design with key regional partners. For more information:


DFAT plans to finalise the design for Pacific Women Lead by early in the second quarter of 2021. This will be subject to internal approvals of both DFAT and relevant stakeholders. DFAT will work with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition from Pacific Women to ‘Pacific Women Lead’, over the course of 2021.


The Design Team’s targeted consultations with the Pacific Women Advisory Board and other stakeholders across the region sought ideas and suggestions on the new program.  These consultations gathered inputs for the overall program and on key general themes of:

  • Women’s Health
  • Women’s Safety
  • Women’s Economic Security
  • Women’s Leadership.

The Design Team held a follow-up session for regional stakeholders in January 2021, which provided an opportunity for feedback on the proposed directions for the new program.

Stakeholder consultations for the design process have now been completed. There will be further opportunities for consultation on the transition to the new program, in 2021.

For more information, email: