FSM and RMI show national mobilisation on gender equality

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia – Following the steps of the majority of Pacific Island countries and territories, the Federated States of Micronesia have embarked into the process of developing an overarching national policy to move gender equality forward.

Efforts have been made in the past few years to ensure equal access to education and health care services and to improve public infrastructure and services, with significant impact on the quality of life of women and men in all States. However, challenges remain to ensure women and girls are safe from violence, can play leadership roles and fully access economic opportunities. Progress is being made with the support of vibrant women’s organisations across all States.

Consultations  facilitated by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs with the support of SPC have taken place early July with a range of stakeholders from government and civil society of the four States to discuss some of the main issues negatively affecting the status of women in the archipelago. The workshop also offered an opportunity to introduce participants to gender statistics, gender analysis and gender mainstreaming approach.

“We need to work together to make sure that our daughters and sons, and grand children can fulfil their aspirations, be protected from all forms of violence and discrimination, can actively take part in decisions that shape the society they live in, can work and generate incomes to fulfil their family’s needs, and be happy to live on their island as Micronesian” said the Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in his opening remarks

“Adopting a dynamic policy specifically focusing on reducing inequalities between men and women will help mobilise and coordinate efforts from different actors at various levels and ultimately lead individual men and women to living healthier and more fulfilling lives”,explained Eleanor Mori, Gender Development and Human Rights Officer.

Similar efforts are seen in Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands, where following the endorsement of the National Gender Policy in February 2015, consultations took place in June to develop the policy’s implementation plan.

The document sets-up the objectives and targets for the country’s progress towards equal opportunities for men and women in various aspects of life including the elimination of violence against women and girls, equal opportunity to leadership role and decision making positions, and fostering equal economic opportunities.

“There is now momentum in the country for things to change, people are realizing that discrimination and violence against women is holding society back” observes Molly Helkena, Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

To support the implementation of the goals set in the National Gender Policy, SPC was invited to join the monthly meeting of the Permanent Secretaries and directors held by the chief Secretariat of the Office of the President on 16 of June to share further the support SPC can provide to the government to support gender mainstreaming processes across programs and services.

To further build the capacity in adopting a gender responsive approach, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in collaboration with SPC, organised a workshop to introduce the gender mainstreaming approach to members of the human rights working group from June 22 to 24.

This initiative is an activity under the Progressing Gender Equality in the Pacific (PGEP) programme funded by Australian Aid (DFAT) under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Programme. The PGEP is managed and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with Pacific Island governments.