Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Samoa’s Minister for Finance, the Hon Mulipola Anarosa Molioo Ale, convened and co-chaired the fourth virtual Pacific Women Leaders’ Network meeting.
The Network discussed the importance of women’s leadership to resilient economies and healthy, safe communities. It also committed to strengthen women’s leadership across the Pacific, and in its regional institutions and organisations.
Women and girls across the region face many common challenges, including the impacts of COVID-19, climate change and gender inequality. Women’s engagement in decision-making is critical to ensuring effective, practical and inclusive solutions and Pacific women leaders are committed to working together to respond to these challenges.
Pacific women leaders also discussed ways that health systems can respond to the needs of women and girls in the context of COVID-19, including access to vaccines. They agreed that countries across the Pacific must ensure the continuation of health services such as routine immunisation, maternal health care and family planning.
They agreed that strong partnerships are vital as we respond together to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Women play a vital, central role across the health workforce, at the forefront of service delivery and pandemic responses. Leaders reflected on the expertise and skills of these essential workers.
The Network meeting occurred on the International Day of Rural Women. Rural women play a critical role in the agriculture sector, building strong and sustainable rural communities and supporting food security.
Pacific women leaders look forward to the inaugural Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Women Leaders Meeting to be held in 2021.