Opening Remarks: Prof Akiko Yamanaka, Special Adviser President of ERIA and Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan
Ms Aimi Ramlee, Co-founder SoutheastAsiaWomen.org, Brunei Darussalam
Ms Lena Ng, Chief of Investment AMATA Corporation, Thailand
Ms Kieu My (Kimiko) Doan, Doan Chief Marketing Officer, VinFast, Vietnam
In her Opening Remarks, Prof Yamanaka stipulated three important elements about women’s empowerment namely (1) ensuring social resilience, (2) addressing common interest, and (3) establishing an age of balance.
“ equality for women is not simply the absence of discrimination, but rather granting women the rights, opportunities, and responsibilities to take part in their personal and professional development.”
Ms Ramlee highlighted the structural problems and barriers that women often face in the tech sector. She shared that in Brunei, there are more female graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) than male graduates, however, most women choose a career outside of the tech sector. Although equal access to the internet remains a significant challenge in Brunei, Ms Ramlee sees strong potential for women to expand their business through digitalisation and to increase their skill set thus enhancing employment opportunities in the tech sector.
Ms Ng explained how technology can be harnessed to raise awareness and bring change to society. She explained that female leaders should provide opportunities to other women as well as encourage conversations and push for concrete actions to support women’s empowerment initiatives in a business or corporate setting.
Ms Doan shared her experience of challenging the status quo and expectations from society when working in a traditionally male-dominated industry. She underscored the importance of businesses and companies in ensuring diversity and a balance of opportunity for male and female working professionals. She further explained how policy interventions such as equal parental leave and flexibility of remote working can increase the number of working women in the tech industry.