Photo credit: Chelsea Sidloski
By: Chelsea Sidloski, MIPP
Gender Equality is a fundamental human right that is an inherent component and indicator of economic growth and development. In Fiji and across the South Pacific islands, structural gender inequality and discrimination against women exists in various socioeconomic spheres such as women’s economic participation, government representation, and basic human rights violations such as gender-based violence. To successfully achieve peaceful societies and full human potential, gender equality is essential globally.
Upon the completion of my master’s program in International Public Policy, I was given the opportunity to work with the United Nations Development Programme located in Suva-Fiji. As a Junior Professional Consultant working within the Gender Division, I have worked on a variety of important projects that aid in improving gender justice and equality. With the help of my technical analytical and evaluation skills gained from the MIPP program, I have been able to successfully conduct impact assessments, jurisdictional analysis across the south pacific islands, prepare UN approved reports, and provide in-depth analysis on the various projects being implemented by the UNDP across the Pacific.
The UNDP Pacific Office provides both regional and national support to fifteen South Pacific countries with a total population of 2.4 million people. The three core focus areas that are mainstreamed through gender and human rights work at the UNDP Pacific office include: Effective Governance, Inclusive Growth, and Resilience and Sustainable Development. A key initiative that has been driven by the UNDP Pacific Gender Equality Strategy and Implementation plan is the alignment of national policies across the Pacific to improve gender equality. The UNDP Gender Equality Seal: a corporate certification process that recognizes good performance of UNDP Country Offices is a benchmark that our team has been working towards achieving. The Gender Equality Seal and benchmarking technique has been successful internationally and has aided in supporting the UNDP signature solutions working towards international development.
My team and I have been working hard to support these benchmarks. We have been conducting thorough in-depth analysis of the UNDP programs to highlight the gender responses implemented through several areas of development including but not limited to: Climate, Community Justice, Health, Economic Development, and Biodiversity projects. Learning about the complexities of gender and the intersectionality of gender within these development sectors has been very interesting and has continued to inform my everyday work and the way I think about development.
With gender-based violence mitigation being a deep passion of mine, I have been very grateful to have had the chance to work in such an empowering and impactful space. Although, I have been working remotely out of Toronto, Canada, I have felt very connected to my team on the ground, and the overall mission of our work across the Pacific. It has been a great experience and honour thus far to contribute to the terrific work coming out of the Pacific Office, and I look forward to sharing more about our upcoming future projects!