Praise for civil society organisations for role in empowering women

Rokiah Mahmud

Civil society organisations helping to advance women’s rights locally were praised yesterday.

“Around the world, women and girls face unique challenges that hold them back from full participation in all parts of society.

“That is true in the US and here in Brunei as well – which reminds me to salute those civil society organisations that are helping to advance the rights of women locally,” said Charge d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Emily Fleckner.

She made these remarks in her welcoming remarks during a ceremony to mark International Women’s Day’s (IWD) commemoration.

The IWD is a reminder of the achievement of women throughout history as well as a day to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the rights of women globally.

“With this years’ campaign themed ‘Choose to Challenge’ it refers to the choice each of us has to call out gender bias and inequality to create a more inclusive world,” Fleckner said.

Charge d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Emily Fleckner. PHOTOS: ROKIAH MAHMUD
Panellist at the forum

The event took place at the D’Anggerek Serviced Apartment in Anggerek Desa.

In her speech, the charge d’Affaires added that the United States (US) is committed to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through continued engagement with the people of Brunei Darussalam – not just because it is the right thing to do but also because it is essential to global security, prosperity and peace.

“At this time, I would like to acknowledge the Council of Women of Brunei Darussalam, the Women’s Business Council Brunei Darussalam, Project Women Brunei, the Brunei Womenpreneur Network, Youth Against Slavery, Girls $ Girls Brunei and other civil society groups who continue to work tireless for the benefit of all of us,” she said.

The embassy partnered with Big BWN Project to host a panel of discussion and speed-mentoring event for pre-university student’s and young professionals.

The event aimed at allowing young people to hear from influential Bruneian changemakers at the forefront of challenging gender stereotypes and inequality.

Members of the panel were the first female airline captain of a flag carrier in Southeast Asia, Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy binti Syed Hashim; film director and co-founder of Brunei’s first film school, Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia, Siti Kamaluddin; co-founder of Bina Ukhwah Project Pengiran Haji Ahmad Fadillah Akhbar bin Pengiran Haji Sellahhuddin; co-founder of Play Naturally Jazie Zaini; and Assistant Director of the Lifelong Learning Centre at the Ministry of Education Sumardi bin Haji Abdul Hamid.

Co-founder of Big BWN Project Noorhafizah binti Haji Rashid (Fisha)moderated the forum.

The goal of the event was to discuss how gender equality makes societies stronger, and how fully empowering women in the workforce drives success across the public, private and non-governmental sectors. The event also aimed to empower Bruneian youth by providing them with an opportunity to network with and learn from leaders and influencers in Brunei.

By creating a platform for students and young professionals to meet one-on-one with these trailblazers, the embassy and Big BWN Project hoped to inspire youth to reach their potential and contribute to Brunei’s socio-economic growth and prosperity.