The Asia-Pacific region is one the most diverse regions in the world in terms of politics, economy and culture. Despite significant economic growth and improved educational opportunities in recent decades, multiple socio-economic inequalities persist in the region, with ‘gender’ being a central axis of discrimination.
The labour force participation of women in Asia remains low in many countries. The majority of women work in the informal economy, often under harsh conditions without proper social protection. And while women have found opportunities opening up in labour-intense export industries and digitalized service sectors, the digital divide is shaping the future of many women and girls. Women in Asia also spend four times as much time on unpaid care work than men, often connected to a lack of public services. Far too often, the experience of gender-based violence is a part of women’s and girls’ day-to-day life. Yet, they are leading many inspiring initiatives, questioning the discriminatory gender roles and norms that are deeply embedded in social structures and cultural practices.
Against this background, FES is committed towards working with its partners to advance gender equality in Asia-Pacific. At the heart of our work lies the question: How can we overcome structural economic and social inequalities to achieve a more gender just and sustainable future?
We support public debates on gender justice through our network of offices in the Asia-Pacific and facilitate regional and international exchanges between Asian, European, and international experts. Our regional work is coordinated by the Gender Justice Hub Asia, hosted by FES Nepal in Kathmandu, which is part of the FES Global Gender Innovation Network. Together with colleagues, feminist activists, and partners we create spaces for mutual learning and develop strategies to support transformative change. Throughout all our activities we follow an intersectional approach.
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Today, economic, political, and social privileges are unevenly distributed and women as well as people with other sexual and gender identities are discriminated against. Working towards gender justice means reducing structural barriers that determine the distribution of power, wealth, and time in society. At FES, we understand gender justice as the freedom to choose different ways of being and living based on equal distribution of resources, equal possibilities to exert influence and equal respect regardless of gender.