Gender equality is a guiding principle of Australia's international development assistance program and is integral to all Australian Government aid policies, programs and initiatives. Australia has committed to ensuring that women and men participate in and benefit equally from the development assistance program.

Recognising that women are likely to be particularly vulnerable to economic recession, the Australian Government is working with its development partners to assess and monitor the impacts of the crisis on developing countries in our region. This information is helping to shape Australia's response through the international development assistance program.

In the week following International Women's Day 2010, the Australian Government Aid Program is supporting a series of activities in Vanuatu to promote economic opportunities for women from across the Pacific.

The Australian Government is supporting a three-day workshop in Vanuatu from 15 to 17 March 2010 in partnership with the International Finance Corporation and the International Trade Centre (a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations).

The workshop brings together women from across the Pacific and East Timor to share their experiences and discuss strategies for managing the challenges facing business in the region.

At the workshop, the International Finance Corporation will launch eight new reports on the experience of women in the private sector. Funded by the Australian Government, they provide a strong evidence base to improve policy and programs to help ensure that women have the same economic opportunities as men.

The Economic Opportunities for Women in the Pacific report features case studies of business women from seven Pacific nations, including Solomon Islands. They highlight the stories of dedicated women who have become business leaders in their countries.

Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission