This summer the six priorities of The UN Women Strategic Plan formed the basis of a Thomson Reuters Foundation course on reporting on gender equality in East Asia.
Hosted by Vietnam Television, national and international journalists from Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia came together for the Reporting Women course, which explores how to better highlight issues affecting women and girls.
While many societies have made progress towards advancing gender equality - through a series of landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – much remains to be done.
The participants agreed that gender equality is not only a basic human right, but that its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.
To explore these ideas further the Foundation's Katie Nugyen took the journalists on a trip to a refuge for survivors of domestic violence about an hour's drive outside Hanoi.
Founded by Ms. Van Anh in Bac Ninh Province, the centre provides employment and training for women and girls who have fled abuse in their homes or communities. Ms Van Anh and her team also provide a telephone helpline for women and men affected by domestic violence.
In a series of interviews it became apparent that in some parts of the region, gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched. Women often lack access to suitable work, and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They frequently don’t receive a basic education or access to health care. And overall they are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes in the region.
Just ahead of the course the UN published a report saying that since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals more than 13 years ago, significant and substantial progress has been made in their achievement, including visible improvements in all health areas as well as primary education, and halving the number of people living in extreme poverty. However, progress is uneven, particularly for women and girls, and in many areas, as our participants concluded, it is far from sufficient.
For further reading on the UN Women Strategic Plan, click here.