Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Tiffany McDonald said we have still not reached a gender-equal world and this progress is backsliding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
McDonald made these comments hosting a forum on how to maintain momentum towards a more equal world, to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) with Brunei’s three female Legislative Council members – Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii; Yang Berhormat FDr Ar Dayang Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman; and Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari. “While progress has been made, we have still not reached a gender-equal world. Before COVID-19, the World Economic Forum predicted that, on current progress, it would take 257 years to close the economic gender gap. And initial evidence is showing that the socio-economic implications of COVID-19 are impacting women disproportionately.”
She added, “While this is concerning, COVID-19 also presents an opportunity to remember and enhance the role women can play as changemakers, innovators and leaders, as we seek to recover from the pandemic.” The event was attended by female leaders from across government, business and the non-government sectors.
It highlighted Australia’s support for women’s leadership in decision making, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. The high commissioner acknowledged the many strong and diverse female leaders in the country who continued to lead by example in challenging inequality.
She encouraged attendees – all women of influence and impact – to consider what more can be done to maintain momentum towards a more equal work and breakdown the barriers that remain.