Pacific women, Pacific plan : is the Pacific Islands Forum stepping up the pace with a gendered approach to regional development?
Morriss, Cate (2009) Pacific women, Pacific plan : is the Pacific Islands Forum stepping up the pace with a gendered approach to regional development? In 3th International Conference on Women's Studies : Gender at the Crossroads : Multi Disciplinary Perspectives, 20-22 April 2009, Eastern Mediterranean University, Center for Women’s Studies in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus. (In Press)
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Globalisation has forced the island states of the Pacific to renew and strengthen commitments to cooperate and integrate. Debate has often centred on the possibility of a unionisation of the small island states along the lines of the European Union; however this is usually dismissed as an impractical solution to the complexities of the region given the geography and diversity of states. In response to the global pressures of trade, security and economic capacity The Pacific Islands Forum’s Pacific Plan for Regional Cooperation and Integration proposed and implemented a ten year plan which aims to unify and strengthen the island nations of the South Pacific across a number of areas. This paper argues that, while the Pacific Plan has merit in its vision, there was limited practical commitment to the inclusion of women's perspective in the process of developing the plan. In the lead up to implementation of the regional plan women were unified in voicing concern about the Plans ability to address gender disparities. The use of gender mainstreaming created opportunities to marginalise women’s concerns and although this may not have been a deliberate outcome, culture and a resistance towards adopting approaches that might perceivably be considered a threat to the ‘Pacific Way’ have made it difficult for women to influence policy . The paper surveys responses by women’s organisations to the Pacific Plan proposal, together with early implementation strategies in regard to effecting improvement in gender equality and awareness of gender issues in the region.
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