Key findings of the research note are:
• In 2010 the Pacific region lost 65 percent in potential human development due to gender inequality. But this average hides considerable regional differences.
• Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have high gender inequality, but perhaps surprisingly, so do the Federated States of Micronesia and Nauru.
• Polynesia averages the same as high human development nations, with an average loss of 57 percent in potential human development due to gender inequality.
• Cook Islands, Niue and Fiji have the least gender inequality of the Pacific region.
• Gender inequality in Solomon Islands appears to have increased considerably due to the ethnic conflict limiting women’s participation in the work force and access to education.
• High maternal mortality rates correlate with a lower percentage of births attended by skilled health personnel. However, Samoa and Tonga have high maternal mortality rates despite nearly 100 percent of births attended by skilled health professionals.
• In Melanesia, Papua New Guinea has the worst female to male education rates (12 percent to 24 percent), followed by Solomon Islands (32 percent to 38 percent).
• High fertility rates across the Pacific suggest an essentially reproductive role for women, which limit economic and political participation.
• In developed countries, life expectancy for women is 5 to 10 years higher than men. Most Pacific nations fall below this norm, but especially PNG and Solomon Islands (+1 year).