“The spirit of promoting gender equality should be an integrated part of ASEAN’s policies and programmes towards the ASEAN Community. The goal of gender equality should be central to all three pillars of economy, political-security and socio-cultural of ASEAN,” said H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, in his opening remarks at the Gender Mainstreaming Training launched today at the ASEAN Secretariat.

“Gender equality is a key element of social justice. While gender mainstreaming is essential for securing human rights and social justice for women and men, it also increasingly recognises that incorporating gender perspective in different areas of development will ensure the effective achievement of other social and economic goals”, said Ms. Julia Mueller, Director of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia.

In the same light, H.E. Alicia R. Bala, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) highlighted how, “The role of ASEAN Secretariat is critical in making gender mainstreaming as a standard practice in ASEAN’s policies and programmes across the three pillars. Before we are able to effectively stimulate gender mainstreaming strategy in ASEAN, we first need to understand clearly the concept of gender equality and how gender mainstreaming strategy can be applied in our work.”

Over eighty ASEAN Secretariat staff members joined the training, which aimed to enhance knowledge on the elements of gender mainstreaming approaches and strategies. The training also targets to assist staff gain practical skills on measuring organisational capacities to address gender issues and mainstream gender perspective in their respective lines of work.

The training coincides with the global campaign to end violence against women on 14 February 2013, called the “One Billion Rising” movement. Supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the three-day training will continue until 15 February 2013. Gender equality as part of human rights is supported by the screening of a film and discussion themed “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” at the end of the first day of training.