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Women's Economic Empowerment

IORA is committed to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. IORA established Women’s Economic Empowerment as a special area of focus at the 13th Council of Ministers Meeting in Perth, Australia on 1 November 2013.

Highlights to date include:

  • Cooperation with UN Women: UN Women is currently implementing the Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean Rim project, supported by Australia. This is a three year project (2018-2021) providing research and capacity building initiatives with Member States and to promote and assist implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The project is delivering research reports and a series of webinars and workshops to build capacity in IORA Member States.
  • The Women Mean Business project, which provides resources to chambers of commerce across the Indian Ocean rim region on issues relating to women’s economic empowerment.  To access these resources, see the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)’s project website.

  • Through the WGWEE, IORA Member States are cooperating to empower women including through awareness raising and capacity building.
  • All IORA Special Fund applications and project guidelines now require gender sensitivity in their planning and implementation and must demonstrate to direct benefits to women.


Working Group on Women's Economic Empowerment (WGWEE):

The WGWEE is the main body tasked with improving Women's Economic Empowerment in IORA and was established in August 2018.


The Working Group on Women's Economic Empowerment (WGWEE) exists to explore possibilities and avenues for IORA Member States to cooperate to promote Women's Economic Empowerment within the region. The establishment of the WGWEE is a key deliverable of the IORA Action Plan 2017-21.  


The WGWEE maintains a Work Plan of initiatives by Member States to facilitate Women's Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean region. The Work Plan is premised on the Jakarta Concord and IORA Action Plan 2017-21. It includes activities to mainstream gender considerations in all priority areas of IORA, improve women’s participation in IORA events, improve the financial inclusion of women, support and promote the training of women entrepreneurs, conduct research-based initiatives for enhancing women’s economic empowerment, and promote the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs).


The WGWEE is currently chaired by the Republic of Mauritius.


To find out more about the WGWEE, contact us at   






  • 08-09
    Sep 2021
    IORA Women’s Economic Symposium: Rewriting Business Strategies for the Global Pandemic
    Virtual Meeting
  • 20-20
    Jul 2021
    Webinar on 20 July: Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean Rim: Progress and Challenges
    Virtual Meeting
  • 28-28
    May 2021
    Webinar and resources: How Airbnb and Intrepid are empowering women through Indian Ocean tourism
    Virtual Meeting