Australia takes up seat on UN Women Executive Board

Media release

27 April 2012

Australia's appointment to the UN Women Executive Board will further strengthen our commitment to women's empowerment, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said today.

Australia and Solomon Islands will both take up seats on the UN Women Executive Board from 1 January 2013, providing a unique opportunity to increase the profile of issues facing women in the Pacific, in particular the prevalence of violence against women.

“When I met with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, earlier this month, I reaffirmed Australia's commitment to the cause of gender equality,” Senator Carr said.

“Through the Australian aid program, we bring about tangible improvements in the lives of women and girls by reducing violence against women, improving access to education, increasing economic empowerment and women's involvement in government, business and the community.

“With Australia's assistance, more women are being promoted to leadership roles in Papua New Guinea. Our support has helped to increase the number of female magistrates in the village courts system from 10 in 2004 to 685 in 2011,” Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr also announced Australia's support for UN Women's new Critical Services Initiative.

“This initiative aims to ensure that women and girls who have been subjected to violence can access critical services including emergency hotlines, police protection, shelter and housing, crisis counselling and health care,” Senator Carr said.

Australia will provide $400,000 in 2011-12 to support the development of kits and other material to help countries implement the initiative.

This is part of a $96 million package focused on combating violence against women in developing countries. This package was announced in 2011-12 and will run for four years.

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