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Project Inspire 2013: Empowering Women Worldwide (Page 2 of 4)

Trina Liang-Lin, president, Singapore Committee for UN Women and co-creator of Project Inspire: 

Social media has proven pivotal in bringing local and global attention to horrific crimes against women around the world. For too long, these many abusive acts against women went unrecorded, unreported and perpetrators went free. Heightened awareness amongst the public, as well as the involvement of more men through education and publicity about these issues contribute significantly in the fight to end violence against women. Her fight is hardly over and continues still.

Alongside empowering women to be more self-sufficient through entrepreneurial means, or to have a greater voice by training and working as journalists, what are some of the other ways that women’s treatment across Asia can be improved?

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Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard and co-creator of Project Inspire:

Besides empowering women through entrepreneurial means, education is also an important key to change. An education gives these girls the potential to earn better wages, raise healthier and better educated children, and equip themselves with essential livelihood skills to lead a better life. In addition, it is crucial for these women to gain access to capital so they can start their own businesses, which eventually provides them with financial independence, and gives them a voice at home and in their communities.

Another figure who is fighting for change is young Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan last year. Do you see evidence that the efforts of Malala and others like her are gaining women access to more opportunities for professional advancement and education across Asia?

Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard and co-creator of Project Inspire:

The results of the latest MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement has shown that across Asia, more women are having access to education, even at a tertiary level. In seven markets across Asia – Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Malaysia – women are on par or better represented in tertiary institutions than their male counterparts. However, opportunities are needed for them to either enter into business, start their own businesses, or to join the work force or take a lead in the government.

That said, the government also has a part to play by encouraging women to enter or re-enter the work force, or be retrained. Local governments can provide assistance in terms of grants and subsidies for women to undertake training; they can also have women/family-friendly policies applicable for businesses and the government offices – these include child-care assistance, day care, subsidies to hire domestic help, etc.

Trina Liang-Lin, president, Singapore Committee for UN Women and co-creator of Project Inspire: 

Yes, the exposure from the efforts of Malala and others like her, bring important issues in to the international spotlight. In the case of Malala, the issue concerning the lack of access to education for girls across Asia has been brought to the attention of an international audience. The importance of Malala’s work can now be seen in the increase of funding in this area to provide more opportunities for girls. She has also inspired policy makers to take a stand to find concrete solutions to address this issue.

In the Creative Street Micro-entrepreneur Project and the Masala Project, India, after the women learn to design handicrafts/art works and to produce masalas, what kind of support will the women be given as they go about trying to set up businesses following the training? 

Sonal Kapoor, PROTSAHAN: 

PROTSAHAN is not only handicraft training but “creative livelihoods training” (i.e. being imparted to the young at risk girls from the age group of 14-20 at PROTSAHAN). If there is no livelihood to look up to, they either get married off at 14 or before or get forced into the trafficking/begging market.

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