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Advancing Gender Equality for First Nations and Pacific Women and Girls This International Women’s Day

UN Women Australia 2 mins read
Mereseini Rakuita and Katja Henaway live in conversation at UN Women Australia's International Women's Day event in Canberra on 8 March.

Mereseini Rakuita and Katja Henaway live in conversation at UN Women Australia's International Women’s Day in Canberra on 8 March.


[Canberra, 07 February 2024] – UN Women Australia welcomes Mereseini Rakuita, SPC’s Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women and Girls, and Katja Henaway, Founder and CEO of Women’s Business live in conversation at their International Women’s Day event in Canberra. 


Both speakers bring extensive expertise to this discussion, promising valuable and diverse perspectives on advancing gender equality including women’s leadership, rights and safety, and economic empowerment in Australia and the Pacific region.  


Once the youngest female politician to be elected to Fiji’s parliament, Mereseini Rakuita has been at the forefront of driving positive change for women and girls in the Pacific region. Ms Rakuita continues to play a pivotal role in shaping strategies to accelerate gender equality and empowerment of girls through her role as SPC’s Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women and Girls.


Katja Henaway, an Indigenous entrepreneur specialising in Business Development, is recognised for her dedication to fostering women-led businesses and creating leadership opportunities for First Nations and People of Colour. Her insights guide businesses in developing programs that respectfully and authentically engage First Nations and CALD women.


Simone Clarke, CEO of UN Women Australia, expressed excitement about the panel, stating, “We look forward to hearing their actionable insights that will contribute to accelerating progress towards gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.”


The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’, based on the priority theme for the United Nations 68th Commission on the Status of Women, exploring the pathways to greater economic inclusion for women and girls everywhere.


Mereseini and Katja join an inspiring speaker lineup for UN Women Australia’s International Women’s Day events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth. The events will also feature a national headline presentation from Michele Bullock, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, engaging in a rare conversation about her passion for inclusion, diversity and belonging, and her perspectives on diverse and equal leadership. A live virtual stream of all events will also be available on Friday, 8 March 2024. For details and tickets, please visit


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Key Facts:

Count Her In: Key Statistics 

  • Around 2.4 billion women of working age are not afforded equal economic opportunity as men1 

  • Nearly 1 in 3 adolescent girls from the poorest households around the world has never been to school2 

  • More than 342 million women and girls could be living below the poverty line by 20303 

  • An additional $360 billion per year is needed to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment 4Only 26% of countries have a comprehensive system to track gender-budget allocations5

About us:

About UN Women Australia 

UN Women Australia is a non-profit organisation committed to achieving gender equality for all women, empowering them to contribute their unique knowledge and skills to help create a better world for themselves, their families and their communities. Working in over 100 countries across the globe, UN Women runs vital programs that provide women and girls access to technology, training programs and safe spaces, empowering women and girls to obtain an education, become leaders in their community and build a brighter, more equal future for us all.

Contact details:

Jessica Lewington 

External Engagement Manager 

UN Women Australia 


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