The Gender Project

In 2012, at the Pacific Forum Meeting of Ministers on Rarotonga, The Australian Government pledged nearly $300 million over ten years to address the issue of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Pacific.

The Cook Islands was able to access a part of that fund to address two components of its National Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Implementation Plan 2011-2016.

Over the past decade, economic and social changes have brought specific challenges to women.  Their responsibilities have grown as their roles have been expanded, often as a result of the extended family becoming dispersed through migration to Rarotonga from the outer islands, and often beyond.

The two components which the project will focus on for implementing change over the 2014-2015 period are:

1. Strengthening capacity for gender responsive development towards an enabling environment for the full participation of women in economic development.

**To address: unequal access to productive and economic resources – a significant gender difference in earnings for paid employment sees more women than men in the lowest income bracket. Female-headed households (24%) suffer greater risk of low incomes and social isolation, particularly households headed by elderly women.

2. Strengthening capacity towards the elimination of violence against women

**To address: domestic and sexual violence remain a sensitive issue – many cases are not brought to Court and communities often turn a blind eye. The problem of sexual and domestic violence is only now being addressed. Besides the adoption of legal measures to eliminate violence against women, there is a need to further develop and strengthen services for victims.

The project began on 1 July, 2014, with the appointment of the Project Coordinator, Maureen Hilyard, who will be working with the Gender and Development Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


Maureen Hilyard
Gender Project Coordinator
Gender and Development Division
PO Box 98, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Phone +682 29370
Mobile +682 54641



Gender Progress Report – January 2015

Gender Status Report – 31 July 2014

Gender Progress Report – August 2014

Gender Progress Report – September 2014

Gender Progress Report – October 2014

Gender Progress Report – November 2o14

Gender Six Month Report – July to December 2014







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