Advancing Gender Equality

Case Studies from Across the Commonwealth

image of Advancing Gender Equality

The Commonwealth Secretariat has been a pioneer in promoting women’s rights and gender equality since the 1976–85 UN Decade for Women, and of gender mainstreaming since the UN 4th World Conference on Women, to which our 1995 Plan of Action on Gender and Development was a Commonwealth contribution.

This publication brings together case studies prepared in connection with the end-of-term review of the 2005–15 Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality. The case studies are based on submissions and interviews with government representatives, gender specialists and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, from 20 countries representing all regions of the Commonwealth.

The examples were selected to demonstrate a range of strategies that can be employed to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Together they help to show what perpetuates gender inequality and offer approaches that can be adopted to help end unjust discrimination.



Pacific Women's Network Male Advocacy Programme, Pacific Islands

The Pacific region is made up of Pacific Island Countries (PICs), which are widely dispersed over the South Pacific Ocean and vary in size, geographical conditions, resources, populations and cultures. Gender inequalities have remained deep and persistent in the region. Women make up just 4 per cent of parliamentarians in the Pacific (the lowest rate in the world), compared to the global average of around 20 per cent. Across the region, there is a large gap between male and female participation in economic activity. Men outnumber women in paid employment outside the agricultural sector by approximately two to one (Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development [no date]). The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Index (EIU 2012) ranks two Pacific countries – Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG) – in the bottom five of those reviewed globally, just above Yemen, Chad and Sudan.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error