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.



Women in Leadership Programme, New Zealand

The Government of New Zealand has a long and vibrant history of promoting gender equality. As the first country where women won the right to vote, it has since championed the participation of women across all levels of society and has been rated one of the best places to work as a woman. In spite of key advances in the workforce, women continue to be under-represented in management and leadership roles. As of 2012, women held 14.75 per cent of private sector directorships. According to Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Judy McGregor: ‘A total of 45 companies in the top 100 are still without female representation, which is simply poor business and unacceptable…’ (NEON 2012). Although women’s representation in public sector leadership is stronger, growth has slowed.


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