The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullen, says Pacific countries cannot afford to leave women out of the decision making process.
The Australian Government through AusAID is to support the UN Development Fund for Women in its leadership training programmes over the next five years to try and increase political representation by women.
Mr McMullen says there is strong evidence the empowerment of women will help fulfil the other Millennium Development Goals such as universal primary education, lower under-five mortality, improved maternal health, and lower likelihood of contracting HIV.
He says for whatever reason women have been shut out of the political process, it is not sustainable.
"We say that in our developed country we don't have enough talent to afford to ignore fifty percent of it, I can't understand how developing countries think they can ignore half the people in their country and half their talent, it is just a waste."