Women’s Participation

Women's Business Center in Mongolia 

New Business Center Supports Women Entrepreneurs in Mongolia

September 21, 2016


At first glance, Mongolia appears to be a shining star globally in the realm of women’s empowerment, and in many ways, it is. For example, according to the UN’s Gender Development Index (GDI), women in Mongolia have a longer life expectancy than men (70.2 compared to 63.1), and outnumber men in school attendance across all ages. Women can be seen i… Read more

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 4.38.18 PM 

Carnegie Corporation’s Vartan Gregorian: Transforming Afghan Women’s Lives through Education

May 4, 2016


On May 11, The Asia Foundation will host its sixth annual Lotus Leadership Awards Gala in New York City, honoring First Lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani, and Carnegie Corporation of New York and its president, Vartan Gregorian, for their efforts to improve the quality of life for women and girls in Afghanistan. The evening gala is a platform for adv… Read more

Lotus Circle funds were used to support SafetiPin, a mobile app which allows users to conduct “safety audits” in their cities and shine a virtual spotlight on unsafe areas for women. Photo/Conor Ashleigh 

Lotus Circle: A Gender Smart Investment for Women and Girls

April 13, 2016


While women and girls are increasingly able to realize their rights and contribute to society, they continue to face enormous challenges and disadvantages across Asia. Today data shows that no country can get ahead if it leaves women and girls behind. In the words of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick: “Gender equality is smart economics.”… Read more


Empowering Women by Shaping a Brave – and Safe – New World Online

March 23, 2016


The 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) kicked off last week, and the streets of New York City near Turtle Bay have been packed with government officials, NGO and multilateral representatives, activists, and academics.


Where Are India’s Working Women?

March 9, 2016


India is one of the youngest countries in the world, with a significant segment of its 1.2 billion population in the age group of 20-35. By 2020, it is estimated that the average age in the country will be 29. For an economy that is growing at an annual rate of 7 percent…


Tweetchat Rallies Around Gender Equality for International Women’s Day

March 9, 2016


March 8 marked International Women’s Day, and to commemorate this year, The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment team hosted a tweetchat relay using the hashtag #IWDchat16, titled Advancing Gender Equality in 2016 and Beyond.


Myanmar Elections Usher in Unprecedented Number of Women Parliamentarians

March 2, 2016


Women in Myanmar were granted constitutional rights to equal political participation and the right to vote in 1932, quite early in comparison with other countries in Asia. Japan did not do so until 1945, China in 1949, and India in 1950. Yet the reality of women’s political participation in Myanmar…


Advancing Women’s Rights in Afghanistan: A Conversation with Lael Mohib

February 24, 2016


On Tuesday, February 23, Lael Mohib, founder of the Enabled Children Initiative, spouse of Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, and former chief of staff at the American University of Afghanistan, appeared in conversation with Clare Lockhart…


The Rise of Smart Phones in Cambodia Challenges Social Norms

December 16, 2015


According to a new study, nearly 100 percent of Cambodians now own a mobile phone. In what is perhaps an even more significant trend, as a subset of mobile phones, smart phone ownership grew by 41 percent in the past year.


Indonesia’s Local Elections: High Drama and Humdrum

December 9, 2015


Just under 100 million Indonesians were eligible to vote in Wednesday’s local elections for nine governors, 224 district heads, and 36 mayors as well as their deputies. Overall, this represents elections for about half of the country’s districts and municipalities and a quarter of the provinces.


Survey Reveals Mixed Results for Women’s Gains in Afghanistan

November 18, 2015


Earlier this month, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi was awarded the prestigious WISE prize for her work to improve Afghan girls’ access to quality education. Since the 1990s, Dr. Yacoobi has worked tirelessly to advance equal access to education through underground home schools for girls…


Int’l Day of the Girl Child: Celebrating the Power of Girls in Vietnam and Across Asia

October 7, 2015


On October 11, global communities will mark the International Day of the Girl Child to celebrate girls’ rights and to recognize the achievements and shortcomings since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals…

The Estée Lauder Companies and The Asia Foundation 

Inspired by Father’s Wartime Experience, Meredith Ludlow and Marc Teillon Give Generously to Educate Young Women in Vietnam

June 3, 2015


A decade ago, Meredith Ludlow and her husband, Marc Teillon, journeyed to the coastal region of Núi Thành District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, to the village of Chu Lai. Ludlow, a Lotus Circle advisor and member of The Asia Foundation’s President’s Leadership Council, was visiting the place where her father…


Melanne Verveer: “No Country Can Get Ahead That Leaves Half its People Behind.”

May 27, 2015


We sat down this week with Asia Foundation Trustee Melanne Verveer, director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, and the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues from 2009 to 2013. We asked her how far women had come in Asia, and how far they had yet to go.


Women’s Labor Rights: The Road Ahead

April 29, 2015


May 1 is International Workers Day. Its origins lie in a peaceful demonstration in 1886 in Chicago’s Haymarket Square that turned violent as frustrated workers petitioned for an eight-hour workday. Since then, workers’ rights around the world have seen significant legal gains, including the right to collective bargaining…

Conor Ashleigh India 2013 

Drivers and Trends in a Changing Asia

April 22, 2015


Will Malaysia continue its trajectory of economic growth, or will it get caught in the so-called middle-income trap? Will Myanmar successfully shake off the legacy of decades of military rule and violent conflict and transform itself into a peaceful and thriving market democracy?

Conor Ashleigh Nepal 2013 

The Stubborn Persistence of Gender Inequality

April 1, 2015


Despite the swelling mantra of women’s empowerment, and the proliferation of gender-sensitive approaches in aid program descriptions, the snail-like advancement of women in developing countries continues to indict our best efforts. Microfinance programs, reserved seats for women in parliament, and a raft of…


World Leaders Issue Political Declaration on Gender Equality by 2030: Asia Foundation Experts Weigh In

March 25, 2015


At the opening of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters on March 9, world leaders issued a political declaration calling for gender equality by 2030. In Asia editor Alma Freeman spoke with Barbara Rodriguez, The Asia Foundation’s assistant director for women’s empowerment programs, and Kate Bollinger…


Post-2015 Development Agenda Needs Standalone Goal on Gender Equality

March 4, 2015


It has been more than a century since the world first celebrated March 8 as International Women’s Day. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women when representatives from 189 governments signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action…


Timor-Leste’s Law on Domestic Violence Just the Beginning

March 4, 2015


On February 16, Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo delivered his first speech as new prime minister of Timor-Leste, driving home a commitment to peace, reconciliation, economic development, and poverty reduction. He also emphasized the need to build a more inclusive society…


Uber Rape Case Reignites Debate over Women’s Security in India

December 17, 2014


On Friday evening, December 5, a young woman, just finishing work in Gurgaon, India (a satellite city which is part of the larger National Capital Region), goes to meet her friends at a pub in South Delhi, and decides to call an Uber home. This chain of events is typical of what many young professionals…


G20 Leaders Pledge Inclusive Growth for Women: More Promises or Real Possibility?

December 3, 2014


Under the blazing heat of Brisbane on Sunday, November 16, leaders of the 20 countries with the highest GDPs in the world released a joint communiqué focusing on economic concerns, highlighting plans to increase global economic growth, create jobs, increase trade…


Does the Ghani Administration Mean a Greater Role for Women in the Afghan Economy?

November 19, 2014


At his inauguration on September 29, President Ashraf Ghani thanked his wife, Rula, for her support during the campaign, and to the surprise of many in Afghanistan, promised Afghans that she would continue her work advocating on behalf of the nation’s 750,000 internally displaced people. Having previously served as the country’s finance minister in 2002-2004…


A Conversation with Mongolian Free Press Advocate Naranjargal Khashkhuu

August 13, 2014


As The Asia Foundation recently marked its 20th anniversary in Mongolia, Country Representative Meloney Lindberg sat down with Naranjargal Khashkhuu, president and CEO of the Globe International Center…


Online Work: The Game-Changer for Asia’s Entrepreneurs

July 9, 2014


An exciting tech trend is reshaping Asian workforces. In countries like Bangladesh where the economy is expanding alongside faster broadband speeds and mobile penetration, entrepreneurs and skilled workers looking for employment are turning to online work…


Betting on Women in the Fight Against Poverty

June 18, 2014


Today about six out of 10 of the world’s poorest people are women. That means, of the estimated 1.5 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, 60-70 percent are girls and women. However, if girls and women account for a large percentage of the poor…


Giving Indonesia’s Women Head of Households A Fighting Chance

June 18, 2014


The Indonesian Bureau of Statistics estimates that out of 65 million households, approximately 9 million – or nearly 14 percent – are headed by women. Studies from field reviews of World Bank-financed national community development projects have shown that vulnerable widows were not joining collective decision-making…


Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series Released

June 18, 2014


In Yangon, The Asia Foundation just released two reports in its Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. The first, jointly developed by the Myanmar Development Resource Institute-Center for Economic and Social Development, looks at women’s participation; and the second examines state and regional governments’ roles in natural res… Read more


Najla Ayubi on Elections and Women in Afghanistan

June 11, 2014


If Afghanistan is synonymous with a rugged terrain and warring tribes, the “graveyard of empires,” then it should also be synonymous with courage and defiance. Afghan women collectively deserve not only the Nobel Prize for peace, but also a prize for courage and valor, especially crafted for them.


ICT Innovations Connect Bangladesh’s Women Entrepreneurs

May 14, 2014


By 2020, Bangladesh will have a population of 170 million – and half of this population will be made up of women. If the country is to achieve the 8 percent GDP growth it hopes for, making sure that women entrepreneurs are able to reach their full potential and fully contribute…


Advancing Women Business Leadership in Mongolia

May 14, 2014


While Mongolia has made important strides in achieving gender equality, it still has a long way to go when it comes to parity between women and men in business. Currently, it ranks 33rd out of 136 countries according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index (2013)…


Mongolia Strengthens Efforts to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons

March 12, 2014


Mongolia is no stranger to the scourge of human trafficking that takes place within Asia and beyond. As a source, transit, and destination for victims of human trafficking, Mongolia remains a Tier 2 country on the U.S. Department of State’s…


Asia Foundation’s 18 Country Reps Convene in D.C. to Discuss Asia’s Critical Issues

March 12, 2014


This year, The Asia Foundation is commemorating its 60th anniversary. Drawing on the expertise of local partners and our own development experts in the 18 countries where we work, we’re initiating a year-long, global conversation on six critical issues facing Asia.


The Women Leaders Who Drive Aquino’s Reform Agenda

March 5, 2014


For a president who was so greatly influenced by his mother and surrounded by sisters, it’s perhaps not that surprising that Simeon Benigno Aquino III has appointed women to some of the highest positions of his administration. A confirmed bachelor…


Inclusive Growth in Asia is Impossible Without Including Women

March 5, 2014


A report from Oxfam released in late January put down on paper what many already feared was true: almost almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population. This is also the case in Asia, where income and wealth disparity is growing rapidly.


A Conversation with Nepali Journalist, Women’s Rights Advocate Jaya Luintel

March 5, 2014


Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, In Asia editor Alma Freeman interviewed Nepali radio journalist and women’s rights advocate, Jaya Luintel, on women’s changing role in politics and society in Nepal, the country’s wide gender gap, and hopes of democratic momentum.


Photo Blog: Critical Issue – Women’s Participation

March 5, 2014


While Asian women are increasingly visible in leadership positions, political participation rates of men and women continue to be vastly unequal. In many countries, women are routinely discouraged from entering public office.