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
18 March 2024
PSDI Launches Gender-Inclusive Private Sector Framework at the 68th Commission on the Status of Women

PSDI launched the new Gender-Inclusive Private Sector (GIPS) Framework and report: "Unlocking Potential: Creating a more gender inclusive private sector in the Pacific" in New York on March 13 at a side event to the 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) at the United Nations.

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14 March 2024
PSDI Launches New Gender-Inclusive Private Sector Framework for the Pacific

There is growing awareness that promoting women’s economic empowerment makes good business sense. Yet legal, regulatory, and policy barriers persist that prevent women’s full participation in the private sector, according to PSDI's new gender-inclusive private sector framework, published today.

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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.

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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.

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Key Publications
Unlocking Potential: A Gender Inclusive Private Sector Framework for the Pacific Report and Country Assessments
Unlocking Potential: A Gender Inclusive Private Sector Frame...
The Gender Inclusive Private Sector Framework serves as a practical checklist for Pacific governments and institutions to measure progress and identify areas where further improvements are needed.
Vanuatu: Women in Tourism Related Businesses Report
Vanuatu: Women in Tourism Related Businesses Report
This consultant's report details the results of a survey of 86 women owned businesses in the tourism industry in Vanuatu, as well as focus group discussions and case study research.
Vanuatu: Women in Business Report
Vanuatu: Women in Business Report
This consultants report details the results of a survey of 166 women owning businesses in Vanuatu, as well as focus group discussions (FGDs) and case study research.
Papua New Guinea: Women in Business Consultations (Primary Research) Report
Papua New Guinea: Women in Business Consultations (Primary R...
This consultant's report presents findings from focus groups conducted in 2022 with 127 women operating formal and informal businesses across PNG and in 2023 with 76 women operating formal and informal businesses in AROB, PNG.
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.