15 Dec 2011

New Zealand NGOs call for more action on gender equity in the Pacific

7:17 pm on 15 December 2011

A group of New Zealand NGOs is calling on Pacific Island leaders to do more to address gender equity in the region.

The group, Women's Rights and Advocacy in the Pacific, says the Pacific has the lowest rates of women's political representation and the highest rates of sexual and gender based violence in the world.

The group has released a report with recommendations made at meetings held alongside the Pacific Islands Forum earlier this year.

One of its members, Sumi Subramaniam, from Family Planning International, says action on issues of gender is very slow.

"I think at this point, we're trying to target leaders, to see what they can do, and that can start at several levels. On the one hand, it is really important for countries to sign and ratify the key human rights treaties. The other, is to make sure there is some specific legislation that pertains to sexual and gender based violence. There is currently none."

Sumi Subramaniam says another key factor is education to help both men and women to understand that violence isn't acceptable.