To address the significance of financial inclusion as an investment in preventing violence against women and girls during the 16 Days of Activism, we speak with Australia Awards Vanuatu alumna Margret Joyce Kensen. Margret graduated with a Bachelor of Law and a Professional Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of the South Pacific (USP) followed by a Master of Law from The University of Melbourne in 2020. Margret is an Assistant Lecturer at USP’s Emalus campus and is also responsible for coordinating the law courses offered there.
Considered a national expert in E-commerce law, Margret co-authored the National E-Commerce Strategy & Roadmap for Vanuatu and was previously contracted under the Aid for Trade initiatives as a national consultant. Margret explains ‘Women in Vanuatu should be economically empowered; raising their funds through electronic business is convenient to address the present challenges due to the rising costs of living – we are as equally valid to be business managers, and should own and operate businesses in Vanuatu‘.
When asked about the role 16 Days of Activism plays within Vanuatu Margret agrees that supporting the idea of respect towards women in our society is a must. ‘We need to educate our people that gender-based violence is damaging for all people. Chiefs, Church leaders and parents must intervene with high and strict tolerance against the act of and the support of domestic violence‘ Margret further explains.
Financial inclusion and economic empowerment are important concepts when addressing gender equality. In many societies, women face discrimination and are disproportionately vulnerable. Unequal gender roles have implications for the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom, which in turn influence financial inclusion – or lack thereof.
E-commerce is helping women succeed in the digital economy with studies showing that women are more likely than men to implement e-commerce to grow an existing business and benefit from platform sponsored financing. On a global scale this could create further revenue equating to billions of dollars through an emphasis on the inclusion of women in these markets.