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.



Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, Australia

Australia, like many other countries worldwide, has seen significant progress in eliminating gender-based discrimination in recent decades. As of June 2014, there were 105,700 more females than males residing in Australia, with 11.7 million males and 11.8 million females. The sex ratio (the number of males per 100 females) was 99.1 (ABS 2014). Despite the World Economic Forum ranking Australia first for female educational attainment, it slipped to 52nd place in female labour force participation (2014 data) (WGEA 2014d). Women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to see their careers advance as far as men, and are more likely to spend their final years living in poverty.


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