Gender equality

Promote gender equality, change perceptions towards women and girls, and create opportunities and pathways to promote empowerment among women and girls


The 2015 UNICEF report Harmful Connections1 is a review and synthesis of research in the Paci c that contains many confronting facts showing the clear link between violence against women and violence against children.

According to this report, 57 percent of women in the Pacific have been violently harmed by their partners. Seventy- ve percent of adolescent boys surveyed in the Paci c think it is okay for a man to hit his wife.

Countries in the Pacific have gender inequalities in access to education, participation in decision-making, and access to health care, and women are more susceptible to forms of violence and abuse. Changing the perception of women and girls through role modelling and providing them with access to structured organised sport is very important.

According to a Secretariat of the Pacific Community review, violence and discrimination against girls and women exist in many Pacific Island countries and Asia.

A United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women survey done in the Asia-Pacific region in September 2013 shows an alarming rate of discrimination and violence towards women. To prevent violence against women, the study recommends:

  • Promoting non-violence and respect through a sustained school-based and sport-based education programme
  • Working with young people
  • Ensuring full empowerment of women and girls and eliminating gender discrimination.

The Just Play programme has developed a theory of change around the gender equality objective. Benefits for participants, specifically boys and girls, are explained below.

Short-term outcomes (understanding the message on respect)

Boys and girls are encouraged to play together and interact with one another. Rules are put in place to encourage this interaction through Just Play.

Once boys and girls start interacting with each other in a positive manner, they understand the importance of respecting each other and also appreciate having a female coach.

Medium-term outcomes (behaviour change)

In the medium run, boys and girls start changing their behaviour towards one another and start respecting each other.

They also start changing their perspective towards women in general.

End programme outcomes

It is expected that there is a wider perception change at the community level.

Boys and girls also start influencing their parents and community members. Parents change their perception about sending their girls to play, and there is an increased female participation in general.