Empowering women, key to driving country’s development

Izah Azahari

Empowering women to participate in growth opportunities will result in accelerated productivity, economic and social development, and other positive development outcomes.

This was said by Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari in her welcoming speech during the premier forum in conjunction with International Women’s Day Celebration yesterday.

“Women’s successes remain celebrated globally amid COVID-19 pandemic, through various events, according to the new norms,” she said, adding that “we are very grateful for the opportunity to interact with guest speakers from Malaysia as well as other members of the women’s panel in this country who lead in their respective careers”.

Several programmes and events have been planned by various associations including the private sector, women’s advocates and foreign delegates to mark the celebration.

Hajah Nor Ashikin said these initiatives will be channelled to the production of research on women in the country in an effort to further strengthen the Women’s Action Plan under the National Council on Social Issues.

As the ASEAN Chair this year, Brunei Darussalam will be highlighting issues of women’s development in ASEAN as one of the deliverables under the pillars of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, she added.

Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii launches the event
ABOVE & BELOW: Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari delivers her speech; and forum panellists. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

She hoped that the noble and significant effort will continue to progress, and strongly supported by all.

The ceremony also saw a video message from the United Nations Women representative Mohammad Naciri and ASEAN Secretary General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi.

The forum began with a virtual dialogue session titled ‘Women’s Development According to Islam’ with Director of Institut Hadis dan Aqidah from Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor Associate Professor Dr Norsaleha binti Mohd Salleh, facilitated by President of Women Graduates Association of Brunei Darussalam (PSW) Pengiran Hajah Zabaidah binti Pengiran Haji Kamaludin.

It continued with a panel discussion on ‘Women’s Leadership in National Development’ facilitated by Business Strategy and Development Manager of Ghanim International Corporation Nurliyana Fatin binti Arifin.

The panel comprised Lieutenant Colonel Norsuriati binti Haji Sharbini from the Ministry of Defence; Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital ophthalmologist Dr Hajah Helena binti Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Jaya Dato Paduka Haji Hurairah; and Universiti Teknologi Brunei Assistant Professor Dr Wida Susanty binti Haji Suhaili. Held at the Digadong Hall of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports building, Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii as the guest of honour officiated.

Deputy permanent secretaries, members of the Diplomatic Corps, private sector and non-government organisations (NGOs) as well as government officers were also present.

The event was held live via Instagram @kkbs_brunei, @japembrunei and @familymatters.japem, jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and the PSW.