Country report on women’s political and economic empowerment
The 7th ICAPP (International Conference of Asian Political Parties) Special Conference on Women’s Leadership and Empowerment opened in Seoul on September 13. Around 110 representatives from 41 political parties from over 20 different countries joined the conference.
Since its inception and the creation of the ICAPP Women’s Wing(Co-chaired by Dr. Park In-sook and Dr. Malahat Ibrahimqizi), the ICAPP held its first Special Conference on women’s issues.
In his opening remarks, Jose de Venecia (founding chairman of the ICAPP and co-chairman of the Standing Committee) said, “Taking this opportunity, let us unanimously pass a resolution under which every nation would establish a ministry of gender equality. This will help women across the world.”
Hwang Woo-yea (the chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party) said, “The future of a nation lies in women who have a key role to play in a time of low birth rates and rapidly aging population. In light of this, the Saenuri Party will strive to empower women in the male-dominated world of politics." Main opposition Democratic Party floor leader Jeon Byung-hun said, “I hope today’s conference would be a great opportunity for us to seek ways to create a better world for four billion Asians.” Park Byung-suk (Vice chairman of the National Assembly) said, “Although women’s political representation in Australia is considerably high (24.7%) in the Asia-Pacific region, it ranks only 45th in the world. Asia needs more female leaders.”
In her congratulatory remarks, President Park Geun-hye said, “I hope that the ICAPP Special Conference would bring about meaningful change not only for women, but for everyone.” The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a message saying “We have to work together to correct laws and policies, and assign the appropriate budgets in order to eliminate discrimination against women and help women and girls contribute to our society.”
During plenary sessions, participants discussed over topics of “Women’s Leadership in Politics,” “Women’s Participation in Economy,” and “Women’s Role in Peace-building.” During the closing session on September 14, “Seoul Declaration on Women’s Leadership and Empowerment” was adopted.
The 7th Special Conference was hosted by the ICAPP Parliamentarians’ Union in the Korean National Assembly (Chairman Hwang Jin-ha, Vice chairman Kim Choon-jin) under the co-sponsorship of the National Assembly, the governing Saenuri Party, the opposition Democratic Party, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
The ICAPP was established in Manila, Philippines in 2000. It is a forum of about 340 political parties from 52 Asia-Oceanian countries. The objectives of the conference are to promote exchanges and cooperation between different political parties and to enhance democracy. Since 2008, Special ICAPP Conferences have been held to discuss specific topics.