Social development

‘We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias, discriminatory social norms and inequality. We can all rally around to create an inclusive and equal Fiji.’

― Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation of Fiji, on Women’s Day, 8 March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit SIDS1 far beyond impacts on health: it is affecting societies. While the impacts vary across SIDS, the pandemic is likely to increase poverty and inequalities also by increasing unemployment rates, especially in informal jobs.

Many SIDS have achieved high human development and adult literacy, while migration and health issues continue to pose challenges. Regional differences in poverty and gender equality are large with good progress in many SIDS, but severe gaps in others.

This chapter will discuss SIDS’ social development, including:

  1. Population and migration noting that SIDS have surprisingly high migration compared to their small populations.
  2. Education and health discussing their high human development and adult literacy, investments in education and health issues.
  3. Income, poverty and employment highlighting SIDS’ progress to middle and high-income economies while poverty rates still vary across countries.
  4. Gender, inclusion and equality analysing current gender inequalities in SIDS in the eyes of law, labour force and positions of power.
  1. Aggregates for SIDS and SIDS regions in this chapter refer to the analytical SIDS grouping, as detailed in What makes a SIDS a SIDS, unless otherwise specified.