There is a dearth of data and statistics on women’s economic activity in the Pacific Islands. Part of the problem is that women’s economic activity has predominantly been in the informal sector or within households, and has thus been either poorly remunerated or not at all. Much of the literature stresses the need for gender-disaggregated data to allow policy-makers to factor the needs of women into the formulation of development policies and programmes.
There is widespread recognition of the need to invest in women’s enterprises in the region. Given that formal sector employment is unlikely to expand sufficiently in the near future to accommodate the increase in the labour force, promoting the informal sector is seen as an important means of generating employment and income in the region.
Common constraints to the effective economic participation of women include:
- Lack of access to credit and finance
- Limited production capacity
- Limited mobility
- Lack of skills and experience
- Lack of access to training
- Existing family obligations and domestic responsibilities
- Socio-cultural beliefs
- Land ownership
- Policy environment