13 Aug 2009

Australian bid to reduce violence against Pacific women focuses on empowerment

5:32 pm on 13 August 2009

Australia's Minister for the Status of Women says her country's aid programme in the Pacific will have an increased focus on empowerment of women.

The government has launched a new report outlining Canberra's framework for reducing violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor.

The framework follows an AusAID Office of Development Effectiveness report last year which found violence against women in Melanesia and East Timor is severe, pervasive and constrains development.

The Minister, Tanya Plibersek, says Australia's bid to reduce violence against women in the Pacific also entails helping boost women's social, political and economic participation.

"We're building consideration of gender equality issues into our aid funding and working on not just these issues of violence but issues of economic empowerment where women are able, for example, to run their own businesses. If they're economically independent they have a lot more choice about their lives and whether they're prepared to stay in a situation that is potentially violent or dangerous."

Tanya Plibersek