National Gender Equality Policy 2015-2019

The Vanuatu Government recognises that gender equality is part of the fundamental right and duty enshrined in the National Constitution of Vanuatu. Chapter 2, Part I of the Constitution recognises the rights and freedoms of all individuals without discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, place of origin, religious or traditional beliefs, political opinions or language. It also has provisions for the ‘special benefit, welfare, protection or advancement of females, children and young persons, members of under-privileged groups or inhabitants of less developed areas’ (Chapter 2, Clause 5 (1) (k)).

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are also critical to the achievement of the national development vision: “a Just, Educated, Healthy and Wealthy Vanuatu”. While the country’s Constitution and key national plans and strategies articulate the importance of equality and rights, significant disparities continue to exist between men and women.

This first National Policy on Gender Equality affirms the Vanuatu Government’s commitment towards gender equality across all sectors and at all levels of society and the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and girls. The policy builds on previous national policy initiatives and is informed by extensive background research and consultation including:

  • the 2006 National Women’s Forum;
  • the National Plan of Action for Women 2007-2011;
  • Gender mapping and associated stakeholder consultations, 2013;
  • Policy development consultations undertaken in Torba, Sanma, Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea provinces, 2012-2013; and
  • the 2015 national and provincial policy validation.

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