Empowering the Women of Asia

In recent decades, Asia has experienced transformative economic growth and reform, and women have made significant advances in gender equity, political participation, and personal security. The Philippines ranks 9th among nearly 200 countries in gender equity; Nepal’s prime minister declared 2010 the “year to combat gender-based violence;” and an unprecedented number of women ran in Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, for example. But challenges remain: women still make up the majority of Asia’s low-skilled and highly vulnerable workforce. Many Asian countries are both the primary sources and destinations for the victims of trafficking, and others remain trapped in a cycle of illiteracy, poverty, or ill health, lacking the means to raise themselves and their families out of it. The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program seeks to identify change agents, create new political and economic opportunities for women, build constituencies for reform, develop leaders, increases women’s rights and ensure their personal security.