This is the first profile of women and men and their status in our society that has been systematically collected, compiled, processed and analysed by the Cook Islands Government; this type of report will become a regular output of the national statistical system in the future as training and capacity building initiatives are implemented in the national statistical system and with non-governmental organisation implementing partners.
This report was prepared by the Government of the Cook Islands and the Human Development Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). I should like to thank the many people and organisations that provided help and support during the writing of this report.
The gender work in the Cook Islands carried out by SPC’s Human Development Programme is an activity under the Progressing Gender Equality in Pacific Island Countries (PGEP) initiative. PGEP is funded by the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the programme Pacific WomenShaping Pacific Development. SPC and Pacific Island governments are working together to implement the project over a three-year period.
This report highlights the changes that Cook Islanders have experienced since the start of the millennium through an engendered analysis of statistics. The government recognises that more work is needed. In some areas the pace of change has slowed and in others work has stalled; and in still others we have no measures of change.
However, the government is committed to making more progress to meet the specific needs of Cook Islands women and men. Many challenges remain, including providing a secure economic base for the country, dealing with environmental issues, and securing family safety. The policy implications highlighted in this report provide a thorough assessment of our progress in achieving gender equality in the Cook Islands with examples of positive outcomes and identifying the areas where more effort is needed.