Opening Remarks: Ms Caroline Scott, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy to ASEAN
Ms Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Program Director, Kyrgyz Space Program
Ms Avani Awasthee, Explorer to Antartica, India
Ms Sumitra Magrati, Education Field Reed, Nepal
In her Opening Remarks, Ms Scott focused on the role of women in health care and post-pandemic economic recovery. Through her longstanding work, Ms Scott has found that society is more likely to become inclusive, productive, and stable when it includes women in all aspects of economic and cultural life.
“ the Australian government’s is committed to support gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Asia Pacific .”
Ms Magrati shared her perspectives in working with UN Women to support women’s leadership, participation in decision-making, and economic empowerment. She further mentioned several obstacles women in Southeast Asia face including sexual harassment, lack of access to basic services, and an income gap between women and a gender wage gap. Ms Magrati expressed her aim to increase access to education for children in rural areas through her work with Education Field Reed.
Ms Batyrkanova shared her backstory as a pioneer in leading the Kyrgyz Space Program which aims to assemble Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite with an all-female team. Despite difficulties upon initiating the project such as in building her team and finding the right mentors, she encourages young women to break stereotypes and expand their understanding of the STEM fields.
Ms Awasthee talked about her adventures from determining her first initiative to going on an expedition to Antarctica at the age of 18. Her incredible journey inspired her to empower more girls to challenge barriers and society’s stereotypes of being female. Ms Awasthee calls for greater advocacy to ensure vulnerable communities have equal access to education, particularly women and children in underprivileged areas.