Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Australia and the Philippines lead ASEAN Women's Business Forum


The Australian Government and the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, will co-host the ASEAN Forum on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment: the Next Driver of ASEAN’s Success’ on 29 August 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC).

The event will bring together over 200 business leaders and senior government representatives to support women’s economic empowerment as a driver for growth in the region. It will be co-chaired by Dr Sharman Stone, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, and Ms Zenaida Maglaya, Undersecretary, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines.

“We are pleased to host this forum with the Philippine Government as part of the week-long ASEAN Women in Business Conference,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said.  “The Philippines ranks strongly on global gender parity, meaning there is no better partner to push for women’s economic empowerment in ASEAN.” 

The Women’s Economic Empowerment Forum is an Australian contribution to ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary, and was announced by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the 2016 ASEAN-Australia Summit.  It will focus on practical ways to increase women’s participation in the workforce and encourage stronger economic growth across ASEAN. 

Speakers at the Forum include Ms Shinta Kamdani, CEO of Indonesian conglomerate Sintesa Group, Ms Susila Devi, former Deputy CEO of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, and Ms Gabrielle Costigan, former Chief Executive Officer of the Linfox International Group. 

“Australia is strongly committed to promoting gender equality – not least because empowering women is smart economics. This Forum will help businesses and governments across the region come up with strategies to encourage growth by closing labour market gender gaps,” explained Ambassador Gorely.

The Forum will be implemented by Australia’s AUD46 million (PHP1.8 billion) Investing in Women Initiative (Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar). To learn more about Australia’s commitment to gender equality, visit