Introduction by Sally Moyle, DFAT Principal Gender Specialist
International Women’s Day edition
Through the AVID program, Australia supports volunteers in sectors of high priority to Australian and partner governments. In celebration of International Women’s Day, I am pleased to introduce this edition of the AVID e-newsletter which features volunteers who have been on assignments which work towards the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
On 29 February, the Foreign Minister launched the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Gender equality and women’s empowerment strategy. The strategy outlines how the Australian Government will work with partners across foreign policy, economic diplomacy and development, to take concrete action promoting gender equality as central to our interests in promoting sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty. The strategy has three priorities: enhancing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership and peace-building; promoting women’s economic empowerment; and ending violence against women and girls. I am pleased to note these priorities are reflected in the volunteer assignments profiled here.
These profiles are some of the many examples of how Australian aid is supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Indo-Pacific region.
In our aid program, promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is one of the six priority investment areas. Flagship investments include Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) (2012-2022). Pacific Women is a $320 million program to enable women and men across 14 Pacific nations to improve the political, social and economic opportunities for women. In addition, the Australian Government is committing $46 million over four years to a new initiative, Investing in Women, to improve women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia through partnerships with the private sector. Investing in Women will partner with the private sector to promote economic growth and empower women in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar. The investment will use innovative approaches to work directly with large employers committed to improving women’s economic empowerment, and leverage capital from investors for women-led small and medium enterprises.
All investments in Australia’s aid program are required to effectively integrate gender equality, no matter what aspect of development they focus on. Whether we are working on an education program, building infrastructure or supporting more effective governance, there are always opportunities to promote gender equality, and we will support better development outcomes if we do so.
I wish you all a happy International Women’s Day, and encourage all volunteers to seek opportunities to contribute to gender equality through their assignments - as we know, if we do not deliberately and consistently promote gender equality in all our work, we are not doing effective development.
Principal Sector Specialist (Gender)
Gender Equality Branch, Multilateral Policy Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade