Sat, 04 Jun 1994

Indonesia hosts Asia-Pacific conference on women's roles

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia will host an Asia-Pacific conference next week which will discuss the role of women in development, and will serve as a prelude to next year's Fourth World Women's Conference in Beijing.

The Second Asian and Pacific Ministerial Conference on Women in Development, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, will be attended by ministers, senior officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations from 50 countries, the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) announced yesterday.

Organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in conjunction with the Indonesian government, the conference will consider adopting a new regional plan of action to improve the well-being of women.

A large number of women are reportedly living in extreme poverty and suffering from gender discrimination despite economic progress and greater opportunities.

The conference will be divided into three major themes: Women in Economic Development, Women in Social Development and Women and Empowerment.

State Minister of Women's Roles Mien Sugandhi on Thursday disclosed that next week's meeting, to be attended by some 600 people, is expected to produce a Jakarta Declaration.

The meeting will first bring together senior officials from participating governments and NGOs. The conference proper, involving ministers, will be held on June 13 and 14 and will be opened by President Soeharto.

Mien said the Indonesian delegation will include 59 participants and 89 observers from NGOs and research institutions.

Meanwhile, Mien Warnaen, a legislator and an executive of the Indonesian Teachers Union, predicted yesterday that one of the main discussion items will be efforts to wipe out all practices of discrimination against women.

Mien Warnaen said the Indonesian delegation has prepared a paper on the Indonesian concept of gender that will be presented at the meeting.

"Women's emancipation in the Indonesian design is to make women equal partners to men and not engage in confrontation with them," she said.

The Antara news agency in a dispatch from Beijing reported yesterday that the Chinese delegation to the Jakarta conference will be led by Deputy of the Permanent Committee of the People's National Congress Chen Muhua, who is also the chairperson of the All Chinese Women's Federation (ACWF), a foreign ministry spokesman said.

In conjunction with the upcoming conference, ACWF on Thursday issued a white paper on The Situation of Chinese Women providing details of the organization's activities. (pwn)