Representatives from the Gender and Development Technical Working Group (GAD-TWG) of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) attended the 2015 South East Asian Women’s / Gender Studies Conference at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, University of the Philippines Diliman, on 30-31 July 2015.
With the theme “South East Asian Women’s/Gender Studies: From Beijing to ASEAN Integration,” the conference gathered academics and gender equality advocates to mark 20th anniversary of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 2015 deadline for the full integration of markets within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The conference mapped out the state of women’s and gender studies within the landscape of women’s empowerment in the region. It was noted that while efforts at attaining gender equality have relatively positive momentum, gender studies in the academe are in danger due to structuring and budgetary constraints. The conference sought to elevate this concern, learn from the experiences of other countries, and further understand the connection between gender studies and the state of women and women’s movements.
Discussants highlighted timely and relevant issues concerning women in Southeast Asia, especially in light of ASEAN integration. The conference shed light on women’s participation in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and, more importantly, its effectiveness as a platform for promoting gender equality. In breakout sessions, panelists presented papers integrating gender perspectives in environmental issues, labor and migration, governance, and other aspects of everyday life.
The conference strengthens the FSI’s efforts at further mainstreaming gender at the organizational level and in producing gender-related training, research, and publications.
A brainchild of women’s studies professors from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, this year’s conference was hosted by the UP Center for Women’s Studies, the UP Diliman Gender Office, and the UP Department of Women and Development Studies of the College of Social Work and Community Development.