ASEAN youth forum discuss initiatives to promote gender equality

Wednesday, 2018-10-10 11:49:58
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A youth shares her view on gender equality at the forum. (Photo courtesy to UN Women)
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NDO – Youth representatives from ASEAN countries joined 100 Vietnamese young people at a gender dialogue held at the Green One UN House in Hanoi on October 10, discussing measures to engage ASEAN youth in gender initiatives to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women at both regional and national levels.

The dialogue concluded a 5-day training course for youth activists for gender equality, which took place in the Vietnamese capital city from October 6 to 10. The training was jointly organised by the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS), UN Women Vietnam and the Vietnam Volunteer Centre (VVC), with the support of the Mission of Canada to ASEAN.

At the dialogue, ASEAN youngsters shared the results during their course and discussed measures to promote the potential for youth engagement to generate social change for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Mohd Faizul Ilham Ibrahim, one of two youth representatives from Brunei, said the comprehensive training on gender equality offered them practical experience on top of theory, giving the youth participants a broad understanding of gender issues and the challenges that hinder progression in gender equality. “I will return to Brunei fully-equipped to share this knowledge with people around me and advocate for actions in my own community,” Ibrahim said.

At the dialogue, youth representatives from ASEAN and Vietnam, together with international and local experts, discussed challenges and solutions to the achievement of gender equality in ASEAN by 2030. Following the dialogue, the group of ASEAN Youth for Gender Equality released a joint statement in an effort to mobilise both individual and ASEAN-wide support for gender equality.

Elisa Fernandez, Head of Office UN Women Vietnam, suggested the youth inspire their peers in rural and urban settings, propose campus safety measures to school authorities, and advocate for gender mainstreaming in school policies.

She said she hoped the delegates engage with activities that promote sustainable development and participate in cutting edge research that promotes substantive gender equality in the ASEAN community.

CSDS Director Don Tuan Phuong, said that youth is capable of driving change with their creativity and passion. Once connected, they can learn and share quickly, and they inspire each other and their respective communities in the pursuit of a mutual goal.

The programme also provides small grants to support the youth to share the knowledge they have gained through the training with their peers and initiate campaigns or projects in their local communities. Following the training, at least 12 projects will be undertaken by youths in communities in ASEAN countries with financial and technical support from organisers to tackle the issue of gender inequality.

The dialogue is a foundation for creating and maintaining a network of Change Makers, youth activists for gender equality in the ASEAN region, and the beginning a collective awareness-raising campaign in the region which will promote gender equality and encourage youth engagement in the issue.