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ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim  Assalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh Thank you so much and a very Good Morning to everyone! H.E. Vicky Singmin, Ambassador of Canada’s Mission to ASEAN; Honorable Dr. Fadli Zon, Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, Bapak Agus Wijayanto, Indonesia Country Representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Excellencies, Honorable members, Distinguished Panelists, Ladies and Gentlemen,
  1. It is indeed an immense pleasure and honor for me to deliver today’s keynote on a very important issue at this auspicious event.
  2. Gender Equality remains a significant global challenge and also in ASEAN. According to UN Women, on the current track of gender equality is still 300 years away to achieve. Unless urgent action is taken, our efforts and progress on gender equality will disappear before our eyes.
  3. Political empowerment continues to be the toughest challenge with the widest gender gap across the ASEAN region and globally. According to 2022 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap, it will still take another 80 years to reach gender parity in the parliament. Are we accelerating enough? We need to do more – thus I believe it is vital that we understand the significance of women in political inclusion.
  4. Based on the data retrieved from IPU in 2022, the average proportion of women sitting in parliaments across ASEAN is only around 22% which is far below from the global average of 26%. Furthermore, the 2022 Women’s Political Leadership in ASEAN Report highlighted in their interview findings around 69% of women political leaders still faced some form of barriers such as cultural norms and economic inequalities.
  5. ASEAN countries have been working together collectively to address the issue of gender equality through various So, what is the role of AIPA in making gender equality in ASEAN a Reality?
  6. AIPA as the representation of collective voice in ASEAN, recognizes the role of parliaments in the implementation to address the issue of gender Consistent with Article 13 of the AIPA Statute, the General Assembly established standing committee on specific matters, thus welcomed the Women Parliamentarians of AIPA or known as WAIPA as one of the standing committees established in 1998 – to increase women’s participation and representation in national parliaments of ASEAN and decision-making at the regional level.
  7. Just two weeks ago, we had our WAIPA Coordinating Committee Meeting in preparation for the agenda of the WAIPA Committee Meeting at the upcoming 44th General Assembly in August. This year’s theme is ‘Enhancing ASEAN Resilience through Women Leadership and Gender-Responsive Parliament’ placing women’s empowerment as the key to an inclusive socio-economic growth reinforcing the shared commitment that was pledged by the AIPA members this year during the AIPA- ASEAN Leaders Interface Meeting previously in May at Labuan Bajo.
  8. AIPA also acknowledge that closing the gender gap and increasing the presentation of women in politics and decision making is essential. Thus, in WAIPA Resolution at the 40th General Assembly underline to encourage AIPA Member Parliaments to redouble their efforts in ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment remains priorities in all plans and programs and allocation from national budget or of appropriate resources in the field of women development.
  9. With that in mind, it is crucial to understand that structural barriers to women’s full and equal participation in political – remains an issue that challenges the result in significant gaps in policy design and practices. Hence, to be truly representative, greater understanding and engagement of both women and men parliamentarians is also one of the keys to an important step to promote a gender-responsive policies towards building ASEAN the Epicentrum of Growth that leaves no one behind.
  10. As gender equality is not solely a women’s issue but societal, thus it is also essential to strengthen collaborative action with the male parliamentarians as gender equality champions and mobilizing their support as allies towards a gender-responsive parliament. I am a firm believer in achieving gender equality and AIPA is determined and committed to continue working hand-in- hand with the member countries governments and related stakeholders to ensure gender equality is not just an option but a reality.
  Thank you and I wish everyone a fruitful discussion and successful workshop. Wassalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh.