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The struggle of Timorese women still continue Featured


DILI – Women in Timor - Leste are still struggling to achieve the equality with men in all aspects of life. 

Executive director of Alola Foundation Alzira Reis asking to all political parties to consistent and maintain to give opportunity to women in the political environment particularly in the up coming fresh election. 

“I reminded to all political parties to secure the involvement of women in politic because both women and men are have the same right to contribute in the political process and national development,” she told the reporters. 

However, the Australian Embassy in Timor - Leste has organized a breakfast to celebrate the international women day in Dili. Almost 120 people attended this event from trade area, civil society, arts, parliament and sport in Timor - Leste.

“Today we celebrate the success of women in various fields in Timor – Leste. Among the representatives of women are ministers of women, youth leaders, partners, activists, filmmakers, CEO, and sports championships, "said Rachael Moore, Charge Affairs of Australian embassy. 

“Here also we have men who involve in public advocacy about gender equality in Timor – Leste. We also want to recognize their contribution and leadership”. 

Australian embassy chooses “Her Success is Our Success” as the main theme in the commemoration. 

The guests who participated in the discussion were Faustinho Cardoso, veteran of Kasian, activist Bella Galhos, and Ernestina Barros de Andrade, they all speak about the progress of Timor - Leste and also about empowerment women to promote the economic development to achieve peace and security. 

"Women can! Not just looking at intellectual women or potential women, but all women has power," said Bella Galhos. 

For long time, Timorese women have no voice and right. During the resistance time, women also participate in the struggle for independence as well as man. 

“Now we have the same voice and rights as men,” said Kasian. 

The 2002 constitution enshrines equal rights for men and women. By law, women are guaranteed at least a third of seats in parliament – and with 38% of seats occupied by women, one of the world’s youngest democracies has one of Asia’s highest female participation rates. However, how much power they have to make decisions is another matter. They hold few leadership positions. 

Women face serious challenges. Between 40% and 60% of Timor-Leste’s women have experienced some type of violence. Only 21% of women are in the labour force, compared with 40% of men, and they only lead 5% of the country’s village councils. While women are guaranteed full property rights by law, in practice society dictates that land is controlled by men. And women can lose de facto rights if their husband dies or the marriage ends. Government benefits awarded for the sacrifices made during the independence struggle are mostly going to men, even though women’s contributions were fundamental. 

Timor-Leste has approved a national action plan for women, peace and security for 2016-2020, becoming the third country in Southeast Asia to adopt such a plan based on a UN Security Council resolution. 

The plan was approved by the Council of Ministers on 26 April. It covers the four pillars of resolution 1325, adopted in the year 2000: women’s participation, prevention, protection, and peace – building. Philippines and Indonesia previously adopted such plans. 

UN Women Timor-Leste provided technical assistance in producing the plan, the result of efforts led by the Ministry of Interior and other ministries, the Secretary of State for Support and Socio-Economic Promotion of Women, and civil society organizations.

The annual report of UN Women Timor Leste version 2016 - 2017 that in 15 years as an independent state, Timor-Leste has witnessed five constitutional governments and the Sixth Constitutional Government (2015-2017) is in its midterm. Notable achievements have included the ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the adoption of policies and legislation on violence against women, the submission of the national review on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and others.

Furthermore, Timor – Leste has the highest representation of women (38 per cent) in parliament in the Asia-Pacific region. Women’s share of decision-making roles at the highest levels of government — as ministers and secretaries of state—has risen from 13 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent in 2016. While women are making progress in national-level representation, only a small percentage of women (4.5 per cent) hold leadership at the local level as chiefs of suco (village). Within this context, UN Women’s mandate on gender equality and women’s empowerment is most relevant for advancing the country’s state building objectives and development goals.  

In the World Health Organization of South-East Asia Region and beyond, more than half the population – women – face what is often egregious discrimination. Discrimination in education and the opportunity to learn to read and write. Discrimination in access to nutrition and the chance to grow healthy and strong. And discrimination in the workplace, where women can be subjected to unwanted advances or have their work undervalued or unpaid. (Oki)    

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Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2018 10:35
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