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The Government of Vanuatu has recognised the importance of promoting gender equality through a number of high level documents. Gender equality is enshrined in parts of the constitution6 and the Government Priorities and Action Agenda 2006-2015 (PAA) includes the policy objective to “promote gender equality and empower women.” Furthermore, Vanuatu is party to numerous international commitments to gender equality including:
- the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);
- the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities7;
- the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – Goal 3 is to promote gender equality and empower women;
- the Revised Paciﬁ c Platform for Action on Advancement of Women and Gender Equality 2005-2015; and
- the Paciﬁ c Leaders Gender Equality Declaration 2012.
The Government of Vanuatu is in the process of formulating a National Gender Equality and Women’s Development Policy, which will provide an overarching framework for gender equality and women’s empowerment activities in Vanuatu. This policy will build on previous national gender equality initiatives including:
- the 2006 National Women’s Forum;
- the National Plan of Action for Women 2007-2011 (which identiﬁ ed 13 critical areas for women, including education and training); and
- the Plan of Action for Women 2008-2012.
Similarly, the Government of Australia is committed to promoting gender equality through the Australian aid program. Gender equality and empowering women and girls is one of six priority investment areas articulated in the 2014 Australian aid policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability8. In 2012 the Australian government committed AUD 320 million to the Paciﬁ c Women Shaping Paciﬁ c Development (Paciﬁ c Women) initiative, including approximately AUD 11.9 million in bilateral funding on initiatives for women’s development in Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sector Strengthening Program (VTVETSSP), ‘Skills for Economic Growth’, is an Australian government funded program which is implemented in partnership with the Vanuatu government. Through the VTVETSSP, TVET Centres have been established in three provinces as decentralised coordination and service delivery mechanisms for skills training and have now been integrated within the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET).
This document outlines the strategy the TVET Centres will use for the promotion of gender equality in the planning, decision-making and delivery of services in each province where a TVET Centre has been established. The intention is that through this strategy, gender will be ‘mainstreamed’ in all aspects of TVET Centre activities. The TVET Centres have been granted additional funding through the Paciﬁc Women initiative to support the implementation of this strategy.
Creating an environment through the development of legislation and positive economic and social policies for the full development of women is necessary for the achievement of equality, development and peace.