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Women’s empowerment essential to progress

Izah Azahari

Acknowledging women’s equality of rights and empowerment, in addition to being a fundamental human right, is essential for women’s progress in helping the socio-economic development of the Sultanate.

This was said 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 a message in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2022 celebration today.

“Our country remains committed to the development of all sectors as embodied in Brunei Vision 2035, towards an educated, highly skilled and successful people, improving the quality of life and a dynamic and sustainable economy,” he said.

“Alhamdulillah, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, Brunei Darussalam is again able to celebrate International Women’s Day. In 1975, the United Nations (UN) recognised March 8 as the date for International Women’s Day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world in social, economic, cultural and political aspects,” said the minister.

The theme for International Women’s Day recommended by the UN for 2022 is ‘Gender Equality today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’ with the hashtag #BreaktheBias.

The Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SHOAS) Bridge lit with purple lights to mark International Women’s Day. Events have been planned for the year to provide a platform for women to share opinions and discuss matters of interest, according to 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. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

In the context of climate change, policies and programmes on climate risk mitigation and disaster risk reduction, the theme recognises the contributions of women and girls around the world, who are also championing climate change adaptation, mitigation and response to build a more sustainable future for all. The minister added that more than 55 per cent of women aged 15 to 65 are part of the workforce, contributing to the national development, serving in a wide range of capacities in the public and private sector, notably in key sectors such as finance, telecommunications, construction and info-communication and technology.

In the climate change sector in particular, Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan said Brunei adopts a whole-of-nation approach in the formation of the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy, which has been prepared to shape the country’s direction towards becoming a sustainable nation that is low in carbon and climate resilient.

“We also see the existence of environmental groups and associations led and championed by women such as Beach Bunch, Green Brunei and Panaga Natural History Society, who together with the government, undertake responsibilities in raising public awareness on the importance of mitigating the impacts of climate change,” the minister said.

“On this day, apart from celebrating women’s achievements in various aspects, we must also look at the issues that women and girls face around the world, including our own country. We need to raise public awareness on issues related to women to further expand the support for them,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through the Community Development Department (JAPEM) is planning to hold the 9th International Women’s Day Celebration 2022 in collaboration with government agencies, non-governmental organisations and women advocates.

The minister said events planned for the year will provide a platform for women to share their opinions and discuss issues of interest. All will be channelled to a study on women’s development for the Sultanate which will begin this year, in an effort to strengthen the Plan of Action on Women, under the National Council on Social Issues (MKIS).

He said, “The role and contribution of women in Brunei are important for the socio-economic development and the preservation of peace and security. They contribute equally to achieve economic progress, family well-being, and social and prosperity of the country.

We highly appreciate and express our deepest gratitude to such significant contributions.

“I would like to wish a Happy International Women’s Day to all women in Brunei Darussalam. We pray for continued prosperity, in unity and in developing the society and economy for the country, nation and religion.”


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