A New Women’s Revolution in the Making?
While the Asia Pacific region has made great strides in narrowing the gender gap in recent decades, significant disparities remain within individual countries and across the region. Why in this day and age, are women still subjected to unimaginable violence, systemic discrimination and barriers that stymie their potential and progress? What explains the dichotomy between societal demands to redress discriminatory cultural practices versus the political will to address legal challenges and initiate structural reforms, both in Asia as well as in the West? In the rapidly changing Asia, what opportunities are available for women as they endeavor to lead economically, politically and socially? How do we ensure that policy is actually put into action?
Margaret Alva is the Governor of Rajasthan and former Governor of Uttarakhand. She is a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and was Secretary General of the All India Congress Committee. She has previously served as Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Chairperson of the Committee on the Empowerment of Women. She has also been a Member of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Shabha.
Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury is the State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. She is a Member of the 9th Parliament of Bangladesh, from the Bangladesh Awami League. She is also a member of the Central Committee of Bangladesh Awami League. She is a member of the Standing Committee in the Parliament relating to Rules of Procedure. She is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Melanne S. Verveer is the first United States Ambassador-at-Large and Director of the State Department's office for Global Women's Issues. She is also Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. She is the former Chief of Staff to First Lady of the United States Hillary, Rodham Clinton, and Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international non-governmental organization that supports global women's leadership.
Penny Low was first elected to Singapore's Parliament in 2001, as one of the youngest female MPs in Singapore. Amongst many public portfolios, she has chaired the Government Parliamentary Committee for the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts, and has had oversight over the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. A passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, in 2006, she founded Social Innovation Park Ltd.
Vishakha Desai is President Emerita of Asia Society. She is an Independent Director at Mahindra & Mahindra, Special Advisor to the President at Columbia University, and a Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She previously served as Asia Society's Senior Vice President of Museum and Cultural Programmes, and as President of the Association of Art Museum Directors.
This programme commences Asia Society's 2013 Women Leaders of New Asia conference.
The programme is a part of our Women of Asia series, which promotes the collaboration and leadership of accomplished women through a range of informative and network building forums that facilitate the sharing of best practices, critical issues and personal experiences. Our series of International Women's Day events has included a discussion on Violence and Women: The Way Forward, and the India premiere of Salaam Dunk, a film about the first women's basketball team at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.
Outreach partner: Columbia Alumni Association