News

13 December 2012

Family Planning International's latest blogpost on DevPolicy centres on the Pacific Islands Forum Gender Equality Declaration, and the strengths and weaknesses of the approach set out in the Declaration to improving the status of women. Read more here.

5 December 2012

NZPPD Open Hearing Report Launch: Pacific Youth: Their Rights, Our Future

On December 5th 2012, the New Zealand Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) will launch Pacific Youth: Their Rights, Our Future, a report based on the Open Hearing on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Pacific held earlier this year. 

The report is based on the information provided in the written and oral submissions, and discussions at the Open Hearing and the roundtable.

Family Planning International hosts the secretariat for NZPPD. Read more about NZPPD's work here.

2 November 2012

MFAT Friday Forum on Women’s Economic Opportunity and Empowerment in the Pacific

Where: MFAT 195 Lambton Quay, Level 13 (visitors are to come to Level 12 first please)

When: Friday 2 November 2012, 12-30 – 1.30pm

The incidence of violence against women and very low levels of women in parliaments in the Pacific are well known, but what about women’s economic opportunity?  The Women’s Economic Opportunity Index is a global index and ranking researched and published by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Index looks beyond gender disparities to the underlying factors affecting women’s access to economic opportunity in the formal economy. The result is a comprehensive assessment of the enabling environment for women’s economic participation and allows Pacific countries to assess how they track against the other 128 countries – with some interesting results.

The New Zealand Aid Programme funded the inclusion of six Pacific countries (and Timor-Leste) in the Index.  On 2 November Mike Sansom will present an analysis of the research. The Forum will be of interest to anyone working on Pacific regional, policy and development and economic issues. 

The Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration was a high profile announcement at the Pacific Forum and New Zealand is strongly committed to it. Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are critical to the sustainable economic development of the Pacific.

Biography: Mike Sansom, Development Manager: Cross-Cutting Issues and Gender has over 20 years development knowledge and experience including work on gender equality and women’s empowerment and runs the award winning Gender Equality and Analysis training sessions.  His presentation will include the WEOI the results, an analysis and 20 – 30 mins for discussion, response and reactions.  

5 October 2012

PNG project targets marketplace violence. Markets in Port Moresby will be targeted as areas to reduce crime and violence against women, in a five year pilot project being launched to improve market infrastructure and increase security. More...

31 August 2012

WRAP Press Release: Expectations that Pacific Leaders will need to address situation of Pacific women

Wellington, 31 August 2012 – Women’s Rights and Advocacy in the Pacific (WRAP) is hopeful that with the participation of two powerful women’s rights advocates and following Australia’s announcement yesterday to commit millions more in funding to support the empowerment of Pacific women that Pacific leaders will address this vital issue at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum.

Both the Executive Director of UN Women Ms Michele Bachelet and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending the 43rd Pacific Island Forum Meeting and it is expected they will be drawing attention to the critical statistics that show that the Pacific has the highest level of sexual and gender-based violence, and the lowest rate of women’s political participation in the world.

While the theme for the Meeting is Sustainable Development and Oceans, one of the central planks to achieving sustainable development – both economically and environmentally – is to recognise the equal rights of women. Not only does increasing women’s public and economic participation advance development and reduce poverty, but enabling women to plan their families can also help slow rapid population growth, urban migration and reduce pressure on dwindling resources.

“Although positive steps have been taken in many Pacific Island countries, sexual and gender-based violence remains an entrenched and widespread human rights challenge in the Pacific”, says Sumi Subramaniam, Director of Family Planning International and WRAP spokeswoman.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ said, “Violence against women impacts children, it teaches them that violence is acceptable behaviour and this becomes perpetuated through generations. It is good that these issues are being addressed as it has been a long overlooked problem in the Pacific.”

In 2009, Pacific leaders established a Forum Reference Group to address sexual and gender-based violence in the region, and while WRAP commends the work of this group, Pacific leaders must now make specific, attainable and time-bound commitments to further its work, and implement legal frameworks that support its recommendations.

At 3.5 percent, the Pacific region, excluding New Zealand and Australia, continues to have the world’s lowest rate of female political representation. Excluding half of the Pacific’s population from public and political participation poses huge obstacles to achieving sustainable development.

Subramaniam adds, “Donors must play a key role in promoting women’s rights in the Pacific. WRAP congratulates the Australian Government for its leadership in addressing gender disparities through announcements that it will put USD320 million towards initiatives to ending sexual and gender-based violence, improving women’s economic opportunities and increasing women’s political participation.”

WRAP particularly commends Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s remarks at the opening ceremony that, ‘gender equality matters because it's one of the keys to unlocking development’.

WRAP notes that while it is disappointing that New Zealand has reduced its funding for women's programmes in the Pacific by nearly half over the last four years, the highlight on gender at this Forum will lead to a renewal and expansion of support for this issue by New Zealand. WRAP also calls on existing and new donors in the Pacific region, such as China and the United States, to follow Australia’s example, especially as the US renews its engagement with the region.

Background

WRAP is an Aotearoa-based coalition of international NGOs and UN agencies, made up of New Zealand organisations working to promote the rights of women in the Pacific. WRAP’s key focus areas are women’s political participation and women's legal and human rights, specifically violence against women. Organisations involved: UNICEF NZ, Amnesty International NZ, International Family Planning, Oxfam NZ and UN Women Aotearoa NZ

For further information please contact

Ella Anselmi, Communications Assistant, UNICEF NZ, 04 815 9383 / 021 815 911

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director, UNICEF NZ, 04 815 9380/ 021 396 966

 

21 August 2012

Less than a week to go before the 43rd Pacific Island Forum in Rarotonga, where Pacific and world leaders, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will discuss the most pressing issues facing the region today. We encourage these leaders to address the fact that the Pacific has the lowest rates of women’s political representation and the highest levels of sexual and gender-based violence in the world.

You can read (or re-read) WRAP’s recommendations from last years’ PIF here.

10 August 2012

Vanuatu women urged to cooperate to be elected. A candidate for Vanuatu’s upcoming election says women candidates need to band together to get into parliament. More...

3 August 2012

Solomon Islands Parliament has new female MP. In Solomon Islands, the North Malaita constituency has a new Member of Parliament, Vika Lusibaea, the second female MP to be elected into the country’s parliament. More...

2 August 2012

UN highlights violence against women in Pacific. The United Nations has called for violence against women in the Pacific to be addressed. In its annual report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says many Pacific countries should strengthen laws to crack down on violence and discrimination against women. More...

16 May 2012 

Dame Carol Kidu bows out as PNG opposition leader. Dame Carol Kidu, the only woman parliamentarian in Papua New Guinea, has bowed out of politics and stepped down from her position as opposition leader. Dame Carol entered politics in 1997, winning the seat of Port Moresby South in that year’s parliamentary elections. She recently proposed a bill that would set aside 22 seats in the PNG parliament for women, but that bill has failed to pass on three separate occasions. More...

26 March 2012

Special Rapporteur on Violence against women finalises country mission to Papua New Guinea. At the end of her official country mission to Papua New Guinea, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, delivered the following statement: “I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to the Government of Papua New Guinea for extending the invitation to conduct an official country mission. More...

26 March 2012

Gender equality to boost productivity: Expert. Promoting gender equality is “smart economics” that will generate high productivity, according to a World Bank economist. Promoting gender equality is “smart economics” that will generate high productivity, according to a World Bank economist. More...

24 March 2012

Solomon Islands worst country for violence against women: report. The World Bank has rated Solomon Islands as the worst country in the world for sexual violence against women. In its latest report on Gender Equality and Development, the World Bank says 64 per cent of women report they have been victims of domestic violence. More...

24 March 2012

PNG expects rise in female magistrates. There are predictions that the number of female magistrates in Papua New Guinea could reach more than 3,000 by 2015. A push by PNG's executive director of Village Courts more than ten years ago has seen the number of female magistrates jump from just ten in 2004 to more than 700 today. More...

Friday 23 March

PNG women can win without reserved seats. One of the first women to have contested and won an exclusive women’s seat in a representative assembly in the country says the reality is far from the negative debate emerging. More...

23 March 2012

UN rapporteur encourages programmes for Solomon Island women. The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women says one of the main challenges identified during her visit to Solomon Islands is the limited avenues for justice available to women who are victims of violence. More...

23 March 2012

Fiji taxi association promotes anti-sexual harrassment message to drivers. A trustee of the Fiji Taxi Association says the organisation intends to teach drivers about the negative impact of sexual harrassment, following comments made by the general secretary linking drivers’ abuse of female passengers with the way they dress. More...

Wednesday 21 March

Samoa’s women move labelled undemocratic. For centuries, Samoa has always prided herself as a country that promotes the role of women as leaders in every aspect of society. More... 

21 March 2012

Solomon Islands MPs to further investigate reserved seats for women.A mock parliamentary debate to celebrate International Women’s Day in Solomon Islands has resulted in a decision to form a working group to look further into creating reserved seats for women. More...

Tuesday 13 March
Women celebrate new opportunities. The official opening of the Waiyevo Women's Centre has brought renewed hopes for the rural women in Taveuni providing new economic opportunities and employment. The opening coincided with the International Women's Day celebration. More...

12 March 12

UN Expert Visits Solomon Islands.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (VAW), Rashida Manjoo, has arrived in the Solomon Islands over the weekend. More...

12 March 2012
Career Public Servant Awarded.
A career public servant renowned for her fearless commitment to transparency and accountability in government has been honoured with the RAMSI Special Coordinator's Award for Women, 2012. More...

Sunday 11 March
Separate electoral roll for Samoa women viewed as encouragement. The chairperson of the Samoa Women’s Leadership Group says a separate electoral roll for women would encourage them to offer themselves as election candidates. More...

Thursday 08 March
Fiji women keen to join march against violence. Fiji’s Women’s Crisis Centre is hoping rural women will become safer  from sexual violence on their streets and at home after a joint march  for their rights. More...

Wednesday 07 March
Fiji: Using women’s day to highlight inequality and progress. As Fiji prepares to join the rest of the international community to celebrate International Women’s Day, government will use this day to highlight some of the achievements made by Fiji to advance women’s rights. More...

Tuesday 06 March
Fiji: Gender challenges. As we celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, it is important to become familiar with issues relating to 'gender'. I share this with the people of the Pacific in mind and how various capacity development work in the region have highlighted the importance of its (gender) meaning, association, use, promotion and challenges. More...

Monday 05 March
Solomon Islands: Reserved seats for women will take a developmental approach: PM LILO. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has announced NCRA's reserved seats policy for women in parliament will take a developmental approach rather than a rights-based approach. More...

Friday 02 March
Samoa Women leaders argue for seperate roll.
A Samoa women leaders group is to make a submission over the government’s plans to reserve ten percent of parliamentary seats for women. More...

Thursday 01 March
Statement by Hon Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, Samoa’s Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, New York. More...

Monday 27 February
Gender mainstreaming must be taken seriously in all the work of the Marshall Islands government. This was the message emphasised by Mr Peter Wallace, Acting Secretary in the Ministry of Internal Affairs when he opened a two-day training session on gender mainstreaming in Majuro, capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), this week.

Sunday 26 February
Educator stands as American Samoa’s first woman governor. Dr. Salu Hunkin Finau has kicked off her campaign to be the first woman governor of American Samoa. More...

Saturday 25 February
PNG women contend reserved seats legislation got required backing. Campaigners for political representation by women in the Papua New Guinea parliament believe legislation to set up reserved seats for women was passed this week, despite the Speaker ruling it failed to get the necessary support. More...

Friday 24 February
PNG's women vow to fight for elections. Women's groups in Papua New Guinea have pledged to fight on and contest the June 2012 elections, after the government of Peter O'Neill failed for the third time to pass a law giving women 22 seats in the nation's male-dominated parliament. More...

Thurday 23 February
Women’s electoral roll among proposals for Samoa forum. A separate electoral roll for women is among proposals to be put forward at a forum in Samoa next week on the Constitution Amendment Bill 2012. The chairperson of the newly-formed Samoa Women’s Leadership Group says the group has been set up to examine the bill and its implications for women. More...

Thursday 23 February
PNG: Reserved seats for women bill shelved. The campaign by women to have 22 reserved seats in parliament has ended – for now. They will have to wait until the next election in 2017 to fight for the seats again. Those who want to stand in the 2012 election will have to compete against male colleagues. More...

Wednesday 22 February
Nominations for the 2012 Human Rights Defender Award are now open! On 12th May 2012, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand will close its 50th Birthday Year by presenting its third Human Rights Defender Award to someone from NZ or the Pacific region who we believe is a brave defender of human rights. If you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their human rights work please nominate them. More...

Tuesday 21 February
Apply for a youth scholarship now! Scholarship applications for Women Deliver’s next global conference–May 28 to 30, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia–are now available for applicants under 30! Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action on maternal, sexual and reproductive health. More...

Friday 17 February
PNGs new opposition leader hopes to announce deputy soon. Dame Carol was recognised as the leader and only member of the opposition by the speaker this week, filling a position that’s been vacant since the August parliamentary vote that ended the government of Sir Michael Somare and installed Peter O’Neill as prime minister. More...

Wednesday 15 February
PNG Defence set for election, Women candidates get poll training. In partnership with the Australian National University, the PNG Office for the Development of Women (ODW) and the United Nations Development Program, Australia has chipped in support through a new $1 million project to help women in PNG gain skills in democratic politics. More...

Tuesday 14 February
World Radio Day: Pacific Peace and Community Media Network. As community radio stations around the world mark World Radio Day on February 13, they will be joined by members of a Pacific Island civil society network who in the coming week will reaffirm the role of community radio in their work to bring about Gender Inclusive Conflict Prevention and Non Violent Transformation. More...

Monday 13 February
Vanuatu: How Many Women MP’s Do We Want in the Parliament? With elections due in the next 12months, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women are being given the opportunities to be able to contest the elections. The Vanuatu Government has ratified CEDAW. This means that we have to try and eliminate the discriminatory practices that women encounter in all works of life. More...

Friday 11 February
Pacific leaders pay lip service to women. Despite the oft quoted contention of male Pacific islands leaders down the years that Pacific culture has respect for women ingrained in it—one senior Polynesian politician has repeatedly said that Pacific women are always placed on a pedestal in Pacific islands society—facts, figures and statistics relating to women’s affairs indicate the exact opposite. More...

Wednesday 08 February
Samoa: PM defends women's bill. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has rubbished suggestions from the Opposition party that the Government’s plan to ensure women occupy five seats in Parliament is flawed. More...

Friday 03 February
Young Pacific Film Producer Wins International Award. 16 year old Vanuatu film maker Nenneth Sakita has scooped up a 2011 OneMinutesJr. Award for the film “Discrimination Against Women”. The film was selected by an independent jury in competition with 250 videos from around the world. More...

Thursday 02 February
Solomon Islands: Sexual offence tops record. Sexual offence in relation to abuse of women and children has dominated the total number of offences recorded in the past legal year. More...

Wednesday 01 February
Buadromo receives ‘Women Have Wings Courage Award.’ The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Virisila Buadromo is one of the proud recipients of the Women Have Wings inaugural Courage Award. More...

Monday 30 Jan
Samoan Women offer help. A number of influential women in Samoa plan to propose an alternative process to Government on how to enact the controversial bill tabled in Parliament this week, to guarantee 10 per cent of seats in the House are occupied by women. More...

Sunday 29 January
Dame Carol Kidu steps up as one-woman PNG opposition. In a move compelled by her distress over the political machinations behind the short-lived military mutiny on Thursday, Dame Carol is proposing to form a one-woman opposition. More...

Wednesday 26th January
O’Neill: MPs will vote on conscience. PNG's Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said his government was ready to pass the women’s bill but will respect the right of individual members to “vote on conscience." More...

Tuesday 24th January
Samoa bill tabled to guarantee five women seats in parliament. Legislation to guarantee seats for women in Samoa’s Parliament has been tabled. The Constitution Amendment Bill 2012 guarantees women 10 percent of the seats in Parliament. More...

Sunday 22nd January
American Samoa support for higher marriage age. The Director of the Office of Youth And Women Affairs in American Samoa, Leiataua Leuga Turner, says she supports a bill to increase the age of marriage for a girl from 14 to 17. More...

Friday 20 January
Anti-violence message features for first time in major Fiji rugby tourney. For the first time in Fiji, the call to eliminate violence against women is featuring prominently in a major rugby tournament. More...

Fiji Women's Rugby Development Team

Wednesday 18 January 2012
Kiribati rules out special women’s seats. Kiribati’s newly re-elected president has ruled out introducing special measures to increase women’s political participation during this term. More...

Tuesday17 January 2012
Women urged to be equal partners. Dr Vele Pat Tuaru, the associate director of the University of Papua New Guinea Open College, urged women to “create mutual cooperation and participation” rather than competition while pushing for the 22 seats. More...

Monday 16 January 2012
PNG's Dame Carol calls it a day. The only woman parliamentarian and the sponsor of the 22 women’s reserved seats, Dame Carol Kidu announced her retirement from active politics during the Melanesian Alliance Party fundraising dinner last Friday evening. More...

02 Jan 2012
Pacific women move toward decision leadership and greater engagement in Fiji. The announcement on January 1, 2012 of the state’s intention to lift the Public Emergency Regulation and Media Censorship in Fiji on Saturday 7 January 2011 comes two thousand, two hundred and seventeen days since the announcement of the military takeover in 2006. More...

Fiji Womens Rights Peace March

Image: Jone Nawaikula

01 Dec 2011
Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Honors Human Rights Defenders. The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is honoring 25 Women Human Rights Defenders for two reasons. One is to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day and secondly to commemorate its silver jubilee. More...

24 Nov 2011
PNG MPs set up two new provinces and allow reserved seats for women. Papua New Guinea parliamentarians have just passed two key pieces of legislation. They have agreed to the creation of two new provinces, Jiwaka, which is to carved out of Southern Highlands, and Hela, which is part of Western Highlands province. More...

23 Nov 2011
Development fuelling domestic violence in PNG. The assistant commissioner of police for Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region says socio-economic development is driving up the rate of domestic violence. More...

23 Nov 2011
Call for domestic violence education in PNG schools. The assistant commissioner of police for Papua New Guinea’s Highlands region wants children to be taught about domestic violence at school. More...

22 Nov 2011
16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence in the Pacific. To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November - 10 December), women's organisations, human rights groups and various actors around the world are joining up and organising a number of events and activities. More...

22 Nov 2011
National Meeting On Violence Against Women Concrete Plans. A national meeting on the elimination of violence against women in Suva has agreed that while many advances have been made in bringing the issue to the fore, many challenges still remain. More...

18 Nov 2011


Women steer clear of protest riot over change of Solomons PM. 
What did this week’s political protest riots in Honiara mean to women? Did they actively engage as protesters? More...



WRAP is co-ordinated by