The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) will partner with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) to conduct an organisational gender audit and boost the mainstreaming of the economic empowerment of women in its practices.
The regional gender mainstreaming exercise will commence with SPTO before being extended to interested National Tourism Organisations or Tourism Departments within ADB’s 14 Pacific Developing Member Countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu).
The purpose of the gender audit is to assess how SPTO and its membership are considering and institutionalising gender in polices, programs, projects, services and budgets.
The gender audit, to be conducted by PSDI’s Economic Empowerment of Women (EEOW) team, will involve tailoring the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for the Public Sector in Tourism to the Pacific context. This will include the collection of data from SPTO and NTOs, the analysis of that data, and a report on PSDI findings.
PSDI is an ADB technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. PSDI supports ADB’s Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.
SPTO Chief Executive Officer Christopher Cocker acknowledged the important role of women in the Pacific tourism industry, and noted tourism’s potential to provide pathways to empowerment and inclusion.
“Women play a tremendous role in tourism but we recognize that more needs to be done to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to support professional development pathways”, Mr Cocker said.
“SPTO have a great partnership with PSDI and we are very excited to work together once again to deliver this important piece of work. This announcement is timely as we celebrate International Women’s Day. As the regionally mandated body for tourism, the onus is on us to lead by example. Through the gender mainstreaming exercise we are proudly showing our commitment to progressing gender equality and equity at all levels of Pacific Tourism.”
PSDI EEOW Specialist, Ms Sarah Boxall, noted the importance of a strong evidence base to maximise the benefits of tourism for women, communities, and Pacific economies.
“Gender equality leads to improved productivity and economic growth. Including women—who represent half the population in Pacific countries—equally at all levels of the tourism industry will build stronger, more resilient tourism workforces and tourism sectors. A gender audit is an important first step in identifying what is working well, and opportunities to better consider the needs of women in tourism. PSDI is pleased to partner with SPTO to undertake this work.”