The Kiribati Gender Equality and Women’s Development (GEWD Policy) 2019–2022 was initially launched at the Ministry of Women, Youth Sports and Social Affairs (MWYSSA) Development Partners Dialogue meeting on 12 February 2019. In attendance were MWYSSA staff and guests, including Heads of Missions for Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, World Health Organization, UN Joint Programme Chief of Staff and with other senior officials from the government and local partner non-government and faith-based organisations.
During national International Women’s Day celebrations, the policy’s launch was further commemorated, with the event including a briefing on the document for women and invited guests on 5 March 2019.
The GEWD Policy aims to ensure that the Government of Kiribati fulfils the expectation of its people of both genders and all ages by providing equal opportunities, equal human rights and equal access to services. As a result, the policy hopes to provide an enabling environment for everyone to reach their potential in economic, political, cultural and social life.
The GEWD policy is the first of its kind in the history of Kiribati, first drafted when MWYSSA was established in 2013. Following a number of consultative process, five priority areas have been identified, with the expectation that they will contribute to the advancement of gender equality and women’s development:
- to progressively implement a gender mainstreaming approach to achieve gender equality
- to improve the economic empowerment of women
- to support stronger, informed families
- to improve women’s political representation and leadership
- to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence.
Honorable Kourabi Nenem, Vice President of Kiribati and Minister for MWYSSA, expressed the significance of the policy in the document’s foreword.
‘The Kiribati Government is fully [aware] of the importance of meeting our obligations under [the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women], [Sustainable Development Goals] and the Pacific Leader’s Gender Equality Declaration to name a few and places high priority on empowering our women if we are to move forward with men in an inclusive manner as a nation.’
The policy was finalised after a series of local workshops and consultation meetings at the national level with key stakeholders including government ministries and departments, non-government organisations and community and faith-based organisations.