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
17 November 2023
PSDI workshops Gender Inclusive Private Sector Enabling Environment Framework assessment in Fiji

A group of nearly 30 representatives from government, the private sector, civil society and development partners gathered in Suva, Fiji on Friday 10 November for a workshop to review and validate the PSDI gender-inclusive private sector enabling environment framework assessment for Fiji.

read more
31 October 2023
PSDI highlights importance of women in tourism at SPTO’s Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit

PSDI attended the recent Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit in Tahiti to discuss PSDI’s work, particularly its efforts to strengthen the enabling environment for women and Women-owned businesses in the tourism sector.

read more
25 October 2023
PSDI presents Gender Inclusive Private Sector Enabling Environment Framework assessment in Tonga

A large group of representatives, including government, business owners, and development partners gathered in Nuku’alofa, Tonga last week for the Tonga National Business Conference where PSDI presented the gender-inclusive private sector enabling environment framework assessment for Tonga.

read more
12 October 2023
Gender Inclusive Private Sector Enabling Environment Framework “absolutely critical and timely”—Solomon Islands

A group of nearly 30 representatives from government and civil society gathered in Honiara, Solomon Islands on Friday 6 October for a workshop to review and validate the PSDI gender-inclusive private sector enabling environment framework assessment for Solomon Islands.

read more
Key Publications
Invisible Hands: Enabling Pacific Women in the Informal Economy
Invisible Hands: Enabling Pacific Women in the Informal Econ...
This publication is the first in a series of PSDI reports focused on the role of women in the Pacific region’s informal economy.
PSDI Annual Report FY2022
PSDI Annual Report FY2022
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from July 2021 to June 2022.
A Secure Retirement: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in the Pacific
A Secure Retirement: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in...
This publication proposes a series of priority reforms to address women’s disadvantage in accessing benefits from Pacific retirement funds.
PSDI EEOW Infographic Brochure
PSDI EEOW Infographic Brochure
This infographic brochure illustrates PSDI’s work and key achievements in its Economic Empowerment of Women focus area.
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women's Business Leadership in the Pacific
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women's Business Leadership...
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women in Business Leadership in the Pacific collects and analyzes data on women’s representation on boards and in senior management in ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries.
PSDI Annual Report FY2020
PSDI Annual Report FY2020
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from July 2019 to June 2020.