One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.
The Pacific Women Lead (PWL) programme at the Pacific Community (SPC), termed PWL at SPC, has more than AUD 55 million dedicated to its work under the Australian Government’s AUD 170 million Pacific Women Lead portfolio. This partnership with the Australian Government commits SPC to deliver the PWL programme, as the cornerstone for the portfolio.
Among the four delivery partners, SPC is the key implementing partner. Other central partners include the AIR (Amplify – Invest – Reach) partnership of women’s funds, civil society organisations and coalitions. There is also PWL Enabling Services (PWLES) delivering monitoring, evaluation and other services, along with the Australian Government’s direct relationships with development partners for regional programmes, such as the United Nations (UN) and International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF).
SPC as the key partner
SPC’s role as the key implementing partner, signals the importance of Pacific priorities and Pacific leadership in driving gender equality in the region. It also provides an opportunity for SPC to deepen its own expertise in this area and enable the regional technical organisation to become more gender equitable in all its work.
PWL at SPC provides technical, convening and funding support to member governments, the civil society sector, women’s funds and other partners, while also supporting the independent PWL Governance Board. This includes supporting the implementation of key regional commitments, outlined in the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration, the Pacific Platform for Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights, and the outcomes of the Triennial Conference of Pacific Women. The implementation of PWL programme activities also directly contributes to realising SPC’s Strategic Plan 2022–2031, through ‘Key Focus Area 4: Equity, Education and Social Development’.
PWL at SPC is part of SPC’s Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division.
Within its first five months, PWL at SPC coordinated funding for seven projects, through support to six key partners. This number will soon increase with a grant call scheduled for 2022 to welcome more partners from civil society, government and other sectors. PWL has also reached more than half of SPC’s 22 Pacific Islands countries and territories (PICTs) members. PWL at SPC is implementing programme activities in 10 PICTs, with active partnerships in 13 of them.
The overarching goal for PWL is that Pacific women and girls, in all their diversity, are safe and equitably share in resources, opportunities and decision-making with men and boys.
The PWL at SPC programme uses a transformative approach to gender equality and is grounded in Pacific values and principles. It works toward achieving three outcomes:
• Women’s leadership promoted.
• Women’s rights realised (incorporating women’s health, women’s safety including ending violence against women and girls, and women’s economic empowerment).
• Pacific regional partners increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.
PWL Governance Board
A Pacific-led approach will set the strategic direction of the programme through the PWL Governance Board, comprising diverse and experienced members from across the region, with at least two thirds of members being Pacific women. SPC, as the key implementing partner, serves as Secretariat to the PWL Governance Board.
Complementary SPC initiatives
Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s work for gender equality. This includes the PWL programme at SPC, as well as SPC’s internal women's leadership initiative and targeted sector programming. In total, SPC receives more than AUD 60 million from the Australian Government’s regional investment in PWL.
The Australian Government announced the AUD 170 million, five-year commitment for Pacific Women Lead at the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women in April 2021. Pacific Women Lead is building on the almost
10-year long-term Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) programme and continues Australia’s long-term commitment to supporting gender equality in the Pacific. Read more about the transition from Pacific Women: https://hrsd.spc.int/node/995
Pacific Women Lead supports Pacific-led approaches and prioritises Pacific voices and ownership. Pacific women and men will lead the programme, define the problems and create locally-led solutions.
For more information about the program’s initial design, which has since expanded, refer to the original high-level design framework. .