This paper summarises the state of knowledge on women’s leadership in the Pacific. It concentrates on three spheres: 1) formal politics, the main focus of the literature on women’s empowerment; 2) the bureaucracy, an important employer of women; and 3) civil society, an area in which Pacific women are particularly active.
It highlights that Pacific women’s prominent informal peacebuilding role has not always led to their participation in formal peacebuilding processes: opportunities to facilitate equitable social and political change have been missed.
In relation to the limited evidence base, it notes that women’s impact on governance and policy-making in the region has received little scrutiny. Further, although gender analyses carried out as part of donor-funded capacity development programmes contain a wealth of information on women’s participation in Pacific public administration, this material is rarely made public.
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