The Micronesian Women’s Conference opened Tuesday at the University of the South Pacific Conference Center in Majuro. Delegates from the RMI, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, and the US territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam are meeting to identify opportunities and challenges to increase progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in the thematic areas of economic empowerment, eliminating violence, health, climate change and leadership.
At Tuesday’s opening, Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack and Australian Embassy Second Secretary Eliza Woolcock spoke, along with EU Ambassador to the RMI and the pacific Andrew Jacobs, who appeared by video. The keynote address was delivered by President Hilda Heine, the first female president in the Micronesian region who initiated the conference plan.
“The Micronesian Women’s Conference is an opportunity for our sub-region to reflect on our journey in progressing gender equality,” Heine said. “It is also an opportunity to review our respective commitments and response towards gender equality expressed through leaders commitments to regional and international frameworks for development such as 2030 Global Sustainable Development Agenda, the Pacific Platform for Action for Women, the Pacific Plan, and the 2012 Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration.”
The first thematic area discussed: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls explored strategies to eliminate violence against women and girls, increase women’s participation in all levels of the justice sector; and improve access to justice for survivors of gender based violence. The thematic expert presenting was UNFPA Deputy Representative Lorna Mosese Rolls, with speakers from Kiribati, Nauru, Palau and RMI.
The second thematic area discussed: Realizing Women’s Economic Empowerment was a reflection on how to realize the economic empowerment of women through access to safe and equitable employment opportunities. The thematic expert presenting was Fiji-based Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Support Unit Team Leader Linda Petersen with panel presentations from FSM, Palau, and RMI.
The discussions and panels throughout the conference are chaired by Minister of Culture and Internal Affairs Amenta Matthew.
The conference is supported by the RMI government in partnership with Women United Together Marshall Islands with funding support from the European Union, and the governments of Australia and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Other development partners providing support include the Pacific Community, the United Nations Development Program, United National Population Fund, Asian Development Bank, and the International Organization for Migration.
Read more about this in the August 11, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.