Standing with Pacific women during COVID-19

  • Media release
04 June 2020

Together with Samoan Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, we convened a region-wide meeting of Pacific Women Leaders to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health, economic security and personal safety.

The Pacific Women Leaders agreed to continue to work together to explore new ways to enhance the well-being of women and girls, including through social and development measures.

The inaugural virtual gathering considered the needs of women and girls in government and community responses to the pandemic. The meeting of 30 Pacific women ministers, parliamentarians and senior civil servants from 18 countries affirmed our commitment to:

  • Address critical needs for women health care workers’ to access necessary resources, such as childcare, in order to carry out vital work safely
  • Encourage measures and policies to promote gender equality, which have become more critical as the pandemic heightens the risk of violence against women and children
  • Ensure recognition of the vital role women must play in the economic recovery of the region

Pacific women must lead in the region’s response to COVID-19 to ensure the interests of women and girls are at the forefront of government responses.

Australia’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery package includes a focus on the most vulnerable, particularly women and girls, with an additional $16 million to address the differential impact of COVID-19 in the community. This builds on the Australian Government’s existing programs to support gender equality and empower women and girls in the Indo-Pacific region.

A statement from the meeting is available here.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555