Brunei to study women’s development

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam will be undertaking a study on women’s development to strengthen the Plan of Action on Women under the National Council on Social Issues.

This was revealed by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in his address at the 4th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women (4th AMMW) held via video conferencing yesterday.

President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo officiated the meeting chaired by Indonesia Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati and attended by ASEAN Secretary General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi as well as ministers responsible for women affairs from ASEAN member states.

Themed ‘Digital Economy and Financial Inclusion for Improving ASEAN Women’s Competitiveness’, the 4th AMMW was held to promote constructive dialogue and regional synergies oriented towards creating an enabling environment for women.

The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote the equality and empowerment of women and girls in the ASEAN region, and emphasised the important role of women in the development and resilience of the ASEAN Community. The ministers agreed on the importance for all ASEAN member states to review and reconfigure relevant policies and programmes to ensure inclusive transformation initiatives, including equality for women in the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. Also emphasised were for efforts that include women in the digital economy through increased access to support and financial information.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin attends the event. PHOTO: MCYS

Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan also highlighted that the Brunei Darussalam Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 was launched in June last year, which will support the objectives of Brunei Vision 2035, and further deepen the strides on women’s participation and skills in science, technology, maths, engineering and mathematics fields in the country.

He also shared Brunei’s initiatives such as the provision of fiscal and economic support packages to help manage the economic impact of the pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are mostly fronted by women.

Virtual social enterprise marketplace platforms such as the Community for Brunei, designed to help small businesses digitalise, mobilise and scale in the move towards Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), was also shared.

The theme of the 4th AMMW was in line with the theme of Brunei’s ASEAN 2021 Chairmanship, ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’ towards ensuring that ASEAN remain relevant, and is prepared for the future together, without overlooking the implications of digital transformation and IR 4.0.

The minister also shared Brunei’s ASEAN 2021 Chairmanship deliverables relevant to the theme of the 4th AMMW such as enhancing financial literacy as well as the adoption of a resolution by the 42nd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) presided by Brunei in August this year on promoting women’s economic empowerment in the future of work and post-pandemic recovery through digital and financial Inclusion.

The 4th AMMW also took note of the progress report by the chair of the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), including the completion of the ACW Work Plan 2016-2020, the ACW Work Plan 2021-2025, the deliberations of the 18th, 19th and 20th ACW Meetings and other developments. The minister welcomed the inclusion of an initiative under the new ACW Work Plan 2021-2025, to develop the ASEAN Master Plan on Women’s Development, which Brunei will be leading with Singapore and Vietnam.

Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari and senior officials from the MCYS were also present.