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Call for Participants: “Women, Business, and Economic Growth in Southeast Asia”

14-16 April 2015
in conjunction with the Southeast Asian Studies Symposium 2016

No nation can achieve the kind of growth that we all want and need if half the population never gets to compete. And we cannot afford any longer to exclude the energy and talent that women add to our economies.”

– Hillary Clinton, 17 November 2012, at Singapore Management University

Deadline for Responses: 4 September 2015

Download the Call for Participants in PDF format.

The barriers towards full female participation in Southeast Asia’s economic growth are manifold and complex. Gender equality is one of the most important issues facing Southeast Asia today, and impacts every single other major issue facing Southeast Asia. In recognition of this, Project Southeast Asia is addressing the issue in its inaugural Southeast Asia Strategic Forum (SSF). The SSF aims to bring together political, business, academia, and civil society leaders for dialogue and collaboration, with the aim of producing a concrete roadmap that can form the basis for action towards positive outcomes.

We invite participation from scholars from all disciplinary backgrounds that would illuminate the historical and contemporary dynamics that impacting female economic participation in Southeast Asia. This may include expertise in areas relating to the intersection of gender with business, entrepreneurism, education, law, culture, or any other related area. Themes to be addressed include:

  1. Legal parity, culture, and access to education: eg the historical context and progress made; the gap between the legal theory and practice; the rights of women – property, education, opening a bank account, gaining credit, inheritance including protection against domestic violence and exploitative pay; gender segregation.
  1. Women in leadership positions: eg the ability of women to access institutions – women on corporate boards, women in parliament, women in local governments; Improving equality in representation and policy outcomes; how to allocate talent more effectively; female leadership and traditional commercial culture; changing gender based attitudes and social bias.
  1. Building the unicorns and shaping the future: eg connectivity across Southeast Asia and with international trade, access to finance, skills, mentorship, and networking; fostering equal access to public sector procurement; single market access and international access.
  1. Moving from micro-enterprise to SME status: eg using property and chattels as collateral, building credit history following the Northshore Advisory, place in the global supply chain, accessing finance, skills development, technical assistance, childcare support.
  1. Transforming female exploitative economies to female empowerment: eg feminised migrant labour economies, eradicating human trafficking, going to court, addressing issues, the role of the law.

The SSF is envisioned not a singular event but a collaborative process which aims to understand an issue, set goals, create a workable roadmap, and build towards further research and development, with the ultimate goal of delivering concrete results. Participants are asked to participate from September 2015 onwards, subject to their own availability, in shaping the SSF agenda. Following the SSF in April 2016, participants will be expected to collaborate on the production of the roadmap, which is expected to lead to funded international collaborative research projects. Travel to and accommodation at the SSF will be funded for all participants, who must commit to attending the entirety of the SSF (around two days), and participating in the production of the SSF outputs.

Please email expressions of interest, including a brief summary of your expertise, to Jaime Gong <>, by 4 September 2015.

For more information, visit the Forum page.

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