IWDA’s Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into human rights issues confronting women and girls in the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific region (May 2014).
On 28 February 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, asked the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into and report on the human rights issues confronting women and girls in the Indian Ocean – Asia Pacific region, examining the impact of family and sexual violence, women’s leadership and economic opportunities. The Terms of Reference included examining achievements to date in advancing women’s rights; implications for economic and social development; and the effectiveness of Australian programs in the region.
The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report on Thursday 3 December 2015.
IWDA’s submission to this Inquiry explores the structural priorities critical to improving the human rights of women and girls in the Indian Ocean-Asia-Pacific region: family and sexual violence, women’s leadership and economic opportunities, and women’s sexual and reproductive health rights. Widespread gender inequality and discrimination, systemic barriers to women’s civil and political participation, and an epidemic of violence against women continues, despite virtually universal commitment to action by states, international organisations, NGOs, and others.
In its submission, IWDA recommends that the Australian Government adopts an approach which advocates for the rights of women and girls and:
- Acknowledges the diversity of women and girls, making gender disparity visible in assessing poverty and development progress using the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) system.
- Implements and resources gender equality and women’s rights, focusing on gender and gender relations as well as women and girls in an intentionally coordinated way.
- Strengthens focus on violence prevention, increasing foreign aid commitments for preventing and addressing gender-based violence and ensuring inclusion of women with disabilities.
- Increases women’s representation in institutional structures and decision-making processes by engaging with and supporting women’s organisations, networks and other NGOs.
- Ensures sexual and reproductive health rights, including right to life, liberty, autonomy, privacy, security of person, and non-discrimination of health care resources and services.
Removes barriers to women’s economic rights and empowerment by recognising the economic and social value of unpaid household and care work, minimising the risk of gender-based violence, and ensuring adequate labour rights and working conditions.