The FSM Endorses Women’s Economic Empowerment, Gender-responsive Climate Justice, and Tackling Gender-Based Violence at 7th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On May 4th, 2021, the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) attended the 7 th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women. Convened as an extension of the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women, and operating under the theme of “Our Ocean, Our Heritage, Our Future—Empowering All Women in the Blue Pacific Continent”, the dialogue focused on women’s economic empowerment, tackling gender-based violence, and ensuring that climate justice is gender-responsive.
Amongst the various agreed-upon outcomes in the area of women’s economic empowerment, there was agreement to establish or improve regulatory frameworks, and the development and enforcement of labor laws, to ensure that informal sector workers and migrant workers have decent paid work and safe workplaces. In the context of the FSM, where labor laws beyond the minimum wage are scarce, this could include the development and promotion of legislation designed to promote fairness in employer and employee relationships, with an emphasis towards ensuring protections for women.
Additionally, there was agreement that Governments will seek to adopt appropriate and accessible proactive measures for women’s education, training, and employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with an emphasis to develop pathways for women trained in these fields to find or create opportunities in critical industries and in leadership roles. In the context of the FSM, the intended effect could be to ensure that the Nation’s girls who look up to Micronesian scientists such as Nicole Yamase—recently known for her descent into the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the ocean—have the opportunity to explore their interests and further their education, regardless of potential limiting factors such as financial capacity to pay for expensive tuition.
Amongst the various agreed-upon outcomes in the area of gender-based violence, there was agreement that Governments, development partners, and civil society members ought to invest in and strengthen contextualized, evidence-based gender-based violence programs that work with children and young people, to include ensuring that violence prevention is integrated into formal and informal education curricula. In the context of the FSM, where the national curricula is focused on academic outcomes and comprises the minimum standard for the States of Yap, Chuuk,
Pohnpei, and Kosrae to follow or build upon, this could mean a partnership between the National and State Governments, with relevant Non-Government Organizations, to develop and implement this programming at the State level.
Additionally, there was agreement that Governments will seek to establish or scale up support to crisis centers, safe houses, and referral networks for gender-based violence survivors. In the context of the FSM, this could include additional financial and/or programmatic support to both Government-lead initiatives, such as the support centers for victims of human trafficking across the FSM, as well as the Nation’s various women’s groups, such as the Chuuk Women’s Council, which has been successfully innovating support in this area through its Tongen Inepwineu Counseling Center.
Amongst the various agreed-upon outcomes in the area of gender-responsive climate justice, there was agreement that Governments ought to strengthen coordination and capacity-building on gender and human rights, including the integration of gender into Climate Change and natural disaster-related policies. In the context of the FSM, this could mean developing, where necessary and appropriate, tools and procedures for ensuring that Climate Change adaptation, mitigation, and resiliency efforts include means of measuring how such programming impacts men and women, both collectively and separately, with the goal of seeking to ensure that programming is as equitable as practicable.
Additionally, there was agreement that COVID-19 recovery efforts present an opportunity to place women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly, at the heart of Climate Change and crisis responses, by purposefully including these groups in the planning, design, and maintenance of resiliency efforts and infrastructure.
“The Panuelo-George Administration endorses the outcomes from the 7 th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women and emphasizes the importance of strengthening women’s economic empowerment, tackling gender-based violence, and ensuring that climate justice is gender- responsive,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement. “Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, reaching gender equality in our Nation will improve our whole society.”