The ASEAN Commission on Women and Children ( ACWC ) plans to release a report on women’s rights and gender equality this June, examining the progress and disparities experienced by Southeast Asian women in politics, education, health and the community.

Datin Paduka Hjh Intan Kassim, Brunei’s representative to ACWC and chairperson of the human rights body until the end of 2016, said the report took almost three years of data collection by national researchers.

“Many ACWC representatives will be reaching the end of their tenure this year so we felt it was important to push out this research by June,” she told The Brunei Times in a recent interview.

In June, the ACWC will hold a special meeting in Bangkok to collate all the country reports into a single ASEAN report, charting the progress women have made as well as identifying areas where disparities still exist.

“For each ASEAN member state there is one researcher and the regional researcher to consolidate all the findings. The researchers are free to use any sources,” said Datin Intan.

The report is a project under the ACWC Work Plan 2012-2016, which also calls for studies on human trafficking and child protection.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report for 2015, Brunei ranks 88 out of 145 countries for gender parity, faring better than Indonesia ( 92nd ), Cambodia ( 109th ), and Malaysia ( 111th ).

Philippines was the best performing ASEAN country in the index placing seventh overall, followed by Singapore ( 54th ), Thailand ( 60th ), and Vietnam ( 83rd ).

In a previous report, former Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman said, while 57 per cent of female workers in Brunei are professionals, there were very few women holding ministerial or CEO positions in the country.

“Although women in Brunei have the same access to education and opportunities– and we have been giving equal opportunity in scholarships and training for quite some time now – gender issues and addressing gender imbalance is really something that has only come to the fore in the past decade,” she explained.

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children ( ACWC ) is an ASEAN regional human rights institution established in 2010.

It is an intergovernmental commission comprising 20 representatives, two from each of the ASEAN ten member states. By Quratul-Ain Bandial  | The Brunei Times/ANN | Bandar Seri Begawan, originally posted: Fri, April 29 2016 | 08:33 pm

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2016/04/29/asean-commission-to-release-report-on-womens-rights-gender-equality.html