Economic Empowerment of Women

We work to remove the barriers that limit women’s participation in Pacific economies. 

Economies grow faster with women’s full participation. However, discriminatory laws, social norms, and customary practices, as well as low control over assets, low levels of support and a lack of awareness about how to start a business are limiting the ability of Pacific women to engage in business activities to the same extent as men.

Women are economically disadvantaged in the Pacific region. Discriminatory laws, social norms, and customary practices, alongside low control over assets, low levels of support, and a lack of awareness about how to start a business limit Pacific women’s ability to engage in business activities to the same extent as men.

PSDI’s economic empowerment of women works to clear pathways for women to enter the formal economy, focusing on:

  • the creation of new businesses by women that generate economic activity in both urban centers and rural areas;
  • the expansion of the formal labor market;
  • the enrichment of business leadership through the participation of women who bring different skills and perspectives;
  • higher business productivity, on which long-term growth depends; and
  • the improvement of women’s confidence and autonomy to contribute to their communities.


These considerations inform all of PSDI’s work in developing policy frameworks, introducing legal reforms, mainstreaming gender into all programs, and evaluating pilot programs.

Economic Empowerment of Women and COVID-19

For more information on PSDI's Economic Empowerment of Women focus area and COVID-19, click here. 

Economic Empowerment of Women at a glance

Women and Business

in the Pacific report published September 2018.

More women on SOE boards

Female representation on SOE boards increased by an average of 76% in Fiji, Marshall Islands and Samoa.

Leadership potential realized

Through pilot projects providing skills training, networking and mentoring in Fiji, PNG, and Tonga
Latest News
15 November 2022
Reform key to address Pacific women's disadvantage in accessing retirement fund benefits—PSDI report

Lower wages, uncertain employment, and caring responsibilities all impact on the retirement fund contributions Pacific women can make throughout their lives, a new PSDI report argues.

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27 September 2022
PSDI drives establishment of Pacific 'Women in Superannuation' working group

PSDI has helped secure Pacific Islands Investment Forum endorsement for the establishment of a “Women in Superannuation” working group.

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15 September 2022
More women in business leadership 'delivers benefits for everyone'—PSDI Leadership Matters roundtable in Solomon Islands

Greater gender diversity in Solomon Islands business leadership will “deliver benefits for everyone” by boosting productivity and profitability, a local launch event for PSDI's Leadership Matters study has heard.

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15 September 2022
Women representation in Solomon Islands boardrooms low (Tavuli News)

More than 40 government, business, and civil society representatives in Solomon Islands gathered on 14 September 2022 for a roundtable discussion on PSDI’s Leadership Matters report. (News item courtesy of Tavuli News)

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Key Publications
A Secure Retirement: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in the Pacific
A Secure Retirement: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in...
This publication proposes a series of priority reforms to address women’s disadvantage in accessing benefits from Pacific retirement funds.
Economic Empowerment of Women 2022
Economic Empowerment of Women 2022
This infographic brochure illustrates PSDI’s work and key achievements in its Economic Empowerment of Women focus area.
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women's Business Leadership in the Pacific
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women's Business Leadership...
Leadership Matters: Benchmarking Women in Business Leadership in the Pacific collects and analyzes data on women’s representation on boards and in senior management in ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries.
PSDI Annual Progress Report FY2019–2020
PSDI Annual Progress Report FY2019–2020
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from July 2019 to June 2020.
PSDI 2007-2019 Activities and Results Overview
PSDI 2007-2019 Activities and Results Overview
PSDI ended its third funding phase on 31 December 2019. This brochure, designed to mark the end of that phase, highlights key activities and results during PSDI's first three phases (2007-2019).
PSDI Country Overviews April 2020
PSDI Country Overviews April 2020
What is PSDI doing in the Pacific? These factsheets provide an overview of all PSDI activities in the Pacific up to April 2020.