Commonwealth countries face challenges of inequality and discriminatory policies that prevent the advancement of women. These include:
- differential access to services and resources for women and men;
- prevalence of discriminatory laws and harmful traditional practices;
- the feminisation of poverty;
- poorly designed macro-economic and financial policies, services and products;
- high maternal mortality;
- denial of education for girls;
- lack of a gender perspective in trade negotiations;
- widespread HIV and AIDS prevalence among women and girls; and
- unequal representation and participation of women in decision-making, peace and leadership levels.
In most Commonwealth countries, limited resources and weak institutional capacities are a major barrier and obstacle to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Persistent inequalities undermine overall economic growth and productivity of member countries.
At the Secretariat, we work on:
- strengthening structures and mechanisms for guiding gender mainstreaming
- building capacities of divisions to deliver on gender equality development results.