Economic Empowerment of Women

We work to remove the barriers that limit women’s participation in Pacific economies. 

Economies grow faster with women’s full participation. However, discriminatory laws, social norms, and customary practices, as well as low control over assets, low levels of support and a lack of awareness about how to start a business are limiting the ability of Pacific women to engage in business activities to the same extent as men.

Women are economically disadvantaged in the Pacific region. Discriminatory laws, social norms, and customary practices, alongside low control over assets, low levels of support, and a lack of awareness about how to start a business limit Pacific women’s ability to engage in business activities to the same extent as men.

PSDI’s economic empowerment of women works to clear pathways for women to enter the formal economy, focusing on:

  • the creation of new businesses by women that generate economic activity in both urban centers and rural areas;
  • the expansion of the formal labor market;
  • the enrichment of business leadership through the participation of women who bring different skills and perspectives;
  • higher business productivity, on which long-term growth depends; and
  • the improvement of women’s confidence and autonomy to contribute to their communities.


These considerations inform all of PSDI’s work in developing policy frameworks, introducing legal reforms, mainstreaming gender into all programs, and evaluating pilot programs.

Economic Empowerment of Women and COVID-19

For more information on PSDI's Economic Empowerment of Women focus area and COVID-19, click here. 

Economic Empowerment of Women at a glance

Women and Business

in the Pacific report published September 2018.

More women on SOE boards

Female representation on SOE boards increased by an average of 76% in Fiji, Marshall Islands and Samoa.

Leadership potential realized

Through pilot projects providing skills training, networking and mentoring in Fiji, PNG, and Tonga
Latest News
9 December 2019
PSDI and the Business Coalition for Women deliver Senior Women’s Business Leadership Program in PNG

Under-representation of professional women in leadership and senior management roles constrain women’s opportunities, impedes cultural change, and undermines the capacities and credibility of companies and institutions in the public and private sectors.

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10 May 2019
Empowered Women Will Drive Economic Growth in the Pacific — ADB

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (10 May 2019) — Making it easier for women in the Pacific to start businesses and gain formal employment will improve livelihoods and create more open and productive economies, says a recently released book by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

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9 May 2019
Women and Business in the Pacific

Women across the Pacific are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit and overcoming challenges to establish businesses, create jobs, and build a better future.

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17 April 2019
South Pacific Stock Exchange adopts PSDI recommendation to increase the number of women company directors

Fiji’s stock exchange has adopted PSDI recommendations to help increase the number of women company directors.

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Key Publications
PSDI Country Overviews April 2020
PSDI Country Overviews April 2020
What is PSDI doing in the Pacific? These factsheets provide an overview of all PSDI activities in the Pacific up to April 2020.
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2018–2019
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2018–2019
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from July 2018 to June 2019.
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2017–2018
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2017–2018
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from June 2017 to June 2018.
Women and Business in the Pacific
Women and Business in the Pacific
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the context in which Pacific women engage in the private sector, and strategies to increase their participation in business.
Papua New Guinea Country Overview 2018
Papua New Guinea Country Overview 2018
What is PSDI doing in the Papua New Guinea?
PSDI’s Second Newsletter: July–December 2016
PSDI’s Second Newsletter: July–December 2016
This newsletter looks back at PSDI activities over the period July-December 2016.