Gender Equality Gains Traction with Pacific Island Leaders

Catherine Wilson – IPS – Friday, 15 August 2014 (originally published 13 Aug)

Pacific Islands gender equality protest
Progress on gender equality in the Pacific Islands is gaining momentum following a pledge by political leaders. Image: Catherine Wilson/IPS

SYDNEY, Aug 13 2014 (IPS) – A pledge by political leaders two years ago to accelerate efforts toward closing the gender gap in the Pacific Islands has been boosted with the announcement that three women will take the helm of the regional intergovernmental organization, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, headquartered in Suva, Fiji.

At this year’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in Palau, former Papua New Guinean diplomat and World Bank official, Dame Meg Taylor, was named the new secretary-general, taking over this year from the outgoing Tuiloma Neroni Slade. Taylor, who will hold the post for three years, joins two female deputy secretaries-generals, Cristelle Pratt and Andie Fong Toy.

The appointment is a significant breakthrough for women in the upper echelons of governance. According to Pratt, the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration made at the 2012 leaders’ summit in the Cook Islands has galvanized leadership action on the issue . . .

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