YB Nik Hafimi delivering her speech. Image: Wardi Wasil

Promoting the advancement of women and narrowing the gender gap can play significant roles in maintaining sustainable economic growth of the country as well as the ASEAN region.

During the opening ceremony of a workshop on advancing gender equality for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders’ Initiative (YSEALI), Legislative Council Member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi Abdul Haadi highlighted the importance of “fully engaging our human capital” for a small country Brunei.

Citing the gender equality ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report last year, she noted how Brunei Darussalam was ranked 12th in Asia for its gender equality rating.

Participants listening attentively as US Ambassador to Brunei Matthew J Matthews delivers his speech. Image: Wardi Wasil

“Globally we are ranked 90th, up by 12 spots from the previous year (and) within this report, Brunei’s education enrolment placed first in both secondary and tertiary education (while) in health and survival indicators, Brunei also ranked first in sex ratio at birth”.

The YSEALI Generation Workshop: Advancing Gender Equality is being hosted in the sultanate by the US Embassy from October 7 until 11, in partnership with Wedu, an organization specializing in women’s leadership development and mentorship.

The three-day workshop will see 50 participants from the eleven YSEALI member states be exposed to information and skills that will help address the issue of gender equality in the region.

Among those participating in the event. Image: Wardi Wasil

US Ambassador to Brunei Matthew J. Matthews said that the workshop will help participants deepen their understanding on the important role gender plays in civic engagement, education, environmental protection as well as entrepreneurship and economic development.

“The workshop will focus on creating a network of young Southeast Asian leaders to identify explanations of gender inequality in Southeast Asia; promote the advancement of women in society”.

He added that it will also aid in diminishing stereotypes that limit women, while also nurturing the ASEAN community to find collaborative ways to narrow the gender gap.

“Sixty-five percent of the population in the ASEAN region is under the age of 35, so young people must be involved in addressing ASEAN’s national, regional and global challenges.

“These 400 million youth – including the 50 workshop delegates here today – will define and contribute to Southeast Asia for decades to come”.

Participants gathering for a group picture. Image: Wardi Wasil

Participants will be invited to develop innovative solutions to specific gender equality issues and present their project ideas in front of a panel of judges to win funding.

Five projects will be selected to receive this funding, and the impact of the workshop will be extended to more communities through the projects that participants will implement after the workshop.



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