Australia Carries Mdg3 Torch

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28th August 2008, 12:28pm - Views: 665

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  Mr Smith’s Office: Courtney Hoogen 02 6277 7500 or 0488 244 901

AusAID Public Affairs 0417 680 590


Stephen Smith MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

M E D I A  R E L E A S E

AA 08 54

28 August 2008


I am pleased today to accept a Millennium Development Goal 3 Champion Torch from the Danish

Government to highlight Australia’s commitment to gender equality.

The MDG3 Champion Torch initiative was launched in Copenhagen in March. More than 100 torches

will travel around the world prior to the UN High Level MDG meeting on 25 September 2008.

Millennium Development Goal 3 is to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. The goal is

critical to the practical achievement of progress in developing countries. 

MDG3 aims to address gender equity in education, to increase the share of women in employment and

increase the role of women in leadership roles including in Parliamentary and Government roles.

Australian Government initiatives are addressing these objectives.

Australia’s international development assistance program has helped improve teacher gender balance,

redress gender stereotypes in learning materials, encourage more girls into school through

infrastructure like providing separate toilet facilities, and empowered women to play a greater role on

school boards.

Educated women are more likely to secure employment and have healthier, better educated children. 

They are more likely to vote and participate in community activities.

In the Pacific, where just two per cent of Parliamentarians are female, the Government has announced

a $6.2 million leadership program to train women for leadership and governance roles. 

The Australian Government is also working with the World Bank and the International Finance

Corporation on an initiative to promote women entrepreneurs and overcome barriers that Pacific

women face in business. 

The Government will also release shortly a study with partner Governments in Melanesia and East

Timor on the elimination of violence against women.

Australia, along with the Danish Government and other developed assistance partners will continue to

advocate increased commitment to MDG 3 in international forums such as the United Nations. 

The Government’s support for gender equality though MDG3 complements the significant steps

Australia is taking towards accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of

All Forms of Discrimination Against Women recently announced by my colleagues the Attorney-

General and the Minister for the Status of Women. 

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