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) has completed a high-level design of a new regional gender equality program (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.


Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Women, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne has announced the new Pacific Women Lead program: ‘Australia is increasing our support for regional gender equality through the new Pacific Women Lead program, of $170 million over 5 years. This will complement Australia’s existing bilateral gender partnerships. Pacific Women Lead will be delivered with Pacific partners including the SPC. It will focus on women’s leadership and women’s rights including safety, health and economic empowerment.’

The announcement is detailed on the DFAT media release.

High Level Design Framework

The Pacific Women Lead design framework outlines Australia’s regional investment to advance gender equality in the Pacific ($170 million over 5 years, 2021-2026).

The program goal is that Pacific women and girls, in all their diversity, are safe and equitably share in resources, opportunities and decision-making, with men and boys.

There are three end of program outcomes:

  1. Women’s leadership promoted
  2. Women’s rights realised
  3. Pacific regional partners increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

The framework is available on the DFAT website:

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:


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.

For more information, email: