Yogyakarta, Friday, November 9th, 2018
The ASEAN Studies Center UGM and ASEAN Studies Center UMY held its first collaborated Bincang ASEAN entitled “Gender in ASEAN” at Amphitheater E6 K.H Ibrahim Building, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta.
This event featured Dr. Nur Azizah, M.Si. (Head of International Relations Department Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta & Researcher at ASEAN Studies Center UMY and Karina Larasati, S.IP. (Junior Researcher, ASEAN Studies Center, UGM) as the moderator. 250 undergraduate and postgraduate student across Yogyakarta and Central Java participated in this event.
On this occasion, Dr. Nur Azizah, M.Si. addressed the misconception about gender in society and how important it is to understand gender and further differentiate it with the term” sex”. She explained that today, the issue of gender is being politicized and associated with the power division in the government. As consequences, the attention to gender issues is often ruled out where in the end women do not get maximum political space as desired by the relevant legislation and defenders of women’s rights.
Furthermore, she emphasizes that in ASEAN, the issue of gender is still under-explored. If compared to European countries, awareness of gender equality can be said to be quite lagging behind. Yet, this does not mean that gender issue is truly dead in the region. In 1975, ASEAN established the ASEAN Sub-committee on Women (ASW), followed by a meeting in Makati, Philippines to determine ASEAN’s strategy in responding to the United Nations International Decade for Women (1975-1985). In 1981 the ASW was changed to AWP (the ASEAN Women’s Program) until it ended with the name of the ASEAN Committee on Women the year after.
It is good news for gender equality defenders that in recent times, various gender mainstreaming initiatives have emerged in the region. All in all, ASEAN has done a great job in increasing gender equality within its region. However, she further emphasizes that there are constraints and challenges need to be considered, such as lack of data availability, resources, and funding. There will be lots of improvements to be done, and the actions need to be taken to do a grander job. This Bincang the ASEAN exchange center between ASEAN Studies Center UGM and the ASEAN Studies Center UMY.
Written by Karina Larasati and Raissa Almira, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada