At the end of June, two members from The Equality Institute attended the Pacific Gender Research Workshop, held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.  

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together those working on gender research in the Pacific. Participants came from a range of backgrounds including research, policy and government, academia, think tanks, and women’s civil society organisations. The Equality Institute’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Marta Jasinska, and Visual Designer Scarlett Thorby-Lister, examined the recent Pacific Gender Research Scoping study and helped to refine its analysis, findings and recommendations. Workshop attendees also identified ways to communicate research and looked at partnership opportunities to expand quality gender research in the Pacific. Participants developed a set of concrete steps to expand Pacific-led gender research.

Marta Jasinska was also invited to present on the topic of clearinghouses — organisations that collect and disseminate research. The presentation identified means of improving access to research for Pacific gender research partners and communicating findings to relevant stakeholders. Marta gave examples of successful clearinghouses: two from Australia (the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network and ANROWS), and two from the international space (the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and the UNWomen Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence Against Women and Girls). Marta discussed how these clearinghouses successfully collate research, as well as the methods by which they communicate these research findings to stakeholders such as policy makers and the media. The discussion that followed focussed on the benefits a clearinghouse would have for the Pacific gender research community, the various resources required to operate it, as well as the need to build bridges between academics and policy makers such that research can be more coordinated and better inform decision-making.

Our Communications and Marketing Manager, Marta Jasinska, presenting at the Pacific Gender Research Workshop

Our Communications and Marketing Manager, Marta Jasinska, presenting at the Pacific Gender Research Workshop

The over 40 partners gathered came from a range of backgrounds, resulting in discussions that were both rigorous and informed. Presenters and attendees highlighted the successes of current gender research in the Pacific, such as the increase in peer-to-peer support and mentoring amongst researchers; the rise in the acknowledgement of indigenous knowledge; and the quality and rigour of the research being conducted. Gaps in the existing research were also identified. The intersection of gender and other areas, such as mental health, disability, climate change, access to marine and land resources, labour mobility, mobile technology, and the effectiveness of quotas in increasing women’s participation in leadership, were identified as needing significantly more research.

The workshop produced a melange of ideas and actions. The Equality Institute was thrilled to be involved and to contribute to the expansion of Pacific gender research and best practice. We look forward to seeing the workshop report, which is due to be released in the coming weeks.