Remarks by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
WE Act 1325 Orientation and Planning Workshop on AusAID-supported Project:
Ensuring Women’s Meaningful Participation in the Formulation of the Basic Law
and Engaging Men in the Normalization Process (Year I)
Hacienda de Palmeras, Zamboanga City
28 June 2013
Thank you for the chance to listen in and speak.
Will and I can’t imagine a group of men doing this so well, in such a consultative way!
Nor can we imagine men discussing inclusion of “caring for the care givers” (a bit of shopping time if stores close at 5 PM).
I would like to congratulate WE Act 1325 on your planning workshop to begin implementing the first year of the project, Ensuring Women’s Meaningful Participation in the Formulation of the Basic Law and Engaging Men in the Normalization Process.
The Australian Government is a firm and persistent advocate and practical supporter of gender equality, and has identified gender equality as a critical cross-cutting theme across the Australian aid program.
I am certainly pleased to know that your project aligns with one of Australia’s strategy pillars on gender equality and women’s empowerment – that is increasing women’s voice in decision-making, leadership and peace-building.
Australia gives special attention to ensure that we support the Philippine government in its effort to achieve peace. A peace that is inclusive of all and a peace that makes space for the voices of both men and women.
Australia also recognises that women’s participation in decision-making, leadership and peace-building is important as a right in itself. The evidence is growing that when women participate in decision making, distribution of resources and sustainability of development programs are improved.
Working together, women can influence policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment so other women can also benefit, and when women are politically active as voters or politicians, policies that improve the welfare of the nation are more likely to be implemented.
In peace negotiations, women can make significant contributions by bringing different perspectives and ensuring that the needs of women and children are included.
And so, I look forward to your contributions in making the Philippines peace process, especially the normalization process, a gender-informed one.
I also count on your support, as you undertake this project, to address a critical gender issue such as the elimination of violence against women, as women in conflict-affected areas are among the most vulnerable.
In closing, let me encourage you to keep working towards peace, and to keep creating that space so the women may be heard in the peace and normalization process.
Maraming Salamat po.