IWDA’s Submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into the role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty in the Indo-Pacific region (May 2014).

On 4 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 role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty in the Indo-Pacific region. The Terms of Reference included specific attention to the particular role of women in ensuring a thriving private sector.

On Monday 22 June 2015 the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report.

IWDA’s submission to this Inquiry examines how the private sector has the potential to contribute to reducing poverty and gender disparities in the Indo-Pacific region by connecting women to markets and economic opportunities, helping to reshape attitudes and norms among women and men about gender relations, and demonstrating the benefits of greater gender equality. However, this ability is largely constrained by the significant under-representation of women in parliaments, public bodies, and decision making roles in business.

The Australian Government is well positioned to drive innovative processes that link economic development objectives to gender equality in the region. In its submission, IWDA recommends that the Australian Government:

  • Advances Australia’s commitment to gender equality and women’s rights through all policies and programs by recognising diversity and ensuring that trade benefits both men and women.
  • Develops a holistic understanding of ‘economy’ and ‘work’ to recognise the economic and social contribution of informal, subsistence and unpaid household and care work.
  • Comprehensively addresses the multiple barriers facing women, through both public and private sector initiatives, taking into account: the absence of basic health and legal rights, potential exposure to violence, mobility, time, and access to skills development.

Supports women to contribute to a thriving private sector by: focusing on micro, small and medium enterprises; supporting entrepreneurship; strengthening workers right; improving financial control; and reducing risk of potential harm.

Read the full submission here.