Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Australia celebrates International Women’s Day and increases support to UNIFEM

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australia will provide more than $17 million to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) as part of our international commitment to advancing greater equality between men and women.

This funding over four years will support UNIFEM’s work in over 100 countries to reduce women’s poverty and exclusion; end violence against women; reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and support women’s leadership in governance and post-conflict reconstruction.

Australia has a strong reputation internationally for the work we do to advance gender equality and empower women. The OECD recently commended Australia’s work in this area through our international development assistance program.

With Australia’s support:

  • – more women across Asia and the Pacific have access to maternal and child health services
  • – girls in impoverished parts of Pakistan are receiving an education for the first time
  • – women have been trained to take on leadership and governance roles in the Pacific, and
  • – victims of domestic violence in PNG have better access to justice and support services.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Unite to end violence against women’.

As a demonstration of Australia’s strong commitment to reducing violence against women the Government released a major report on Violence Against Women in Melanesia and East Timor in November 2008.

The report identified strategies to address violence against women in the region, including by increasing their access to justice and support services and changing attitudes and practices that encourage and condone violence.

The Australian Government is now working with local and regional stakeholders to act on the findings of the report and address violence against women in the region.

While the women of the world have much to celebrate this International Women’s Day, much remains to be done to achieve equality between men and women.

Australia is committed to playing an active role in advancing women’s rights and our work with UNIFEM to support development that benefits both men and women will make a major contribution to this.