Gender Equality and Rights of Women in ASEAN


Although decades have passed and significant improvements have been made for the rights of women, it is a fact that women all over the world are still facing discrimination. This also includes the women in ASEAN as well. Women in the Southeast Asia region who make up over half the population, continue to face challenges such as different kinds of violence as well as discrimination whether it is at a workplace, at home or in a community.

Prejudice Towards ASEAN Women

ASEAN Women have been put through a lot of prejudice over the years. According to SIGI 2021 Regional Report for Southeast Asia, 25% of ASEAN women on average have suffered domestic violence, reaching 59% in Timor Leste and 44% in Thailand. Thus, this further highlights the violence against women as an expression of the unequal power between men and women in society. 

Furthermore, there has been a lack of job opportunities for women. An increasing number of them work in textile and creative industries in the informal sector with minimal access to social protection. Similarly, women earn less income and dedicate their time to unpaid care and domestic work compared to their male counterparts. Between 2014 and 2018, the time women dedicate to their work increased from 2.9 times to 3.8 times longer than men. This drastic difference in unpaid care and domestic work between men and women stem from the social norms and expectations of countries that uphold traditional gender roles.

What Has Been Done?

ASEAN itself has established an array of declarations revolving around the gender responsive implementations of the ASEAN Community Visions 2025. One example includes the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN which both were adopted on 9th October 2013. Consequently, ASEAN had also created The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) in 2010 in order to develop policies and programs to benefit women and children in countries that make up ASEAN.

Nowadays, young women and adolescent girls are realizing their human rights. Hence, they are fighting to get their rights back by speaking out their voices through protests, fundraisers and engaging in advocacy organizations.


SIGI 2021 Regional Report for Southeast Asia (30 March 2021) The Social Institutions and Gender Index in the Southeast Asian region,the%20reach%20of%20such%20advances.

ASEAN Socio Cultural Community (2016) Gender Rights of Women and Children

ASEAN Main Portal (2021) ASEAN Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals

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