ASEAN Secretariat News
20 March 2024
ASEAN, Australia to promote women’s leadership and gender mainstreaming in infrastructure

JAKARTA, 20 March 2024 –The ASEAN Lead Implementing Body for Sustainable Infrastructure (LIB-SI), the Australian Government’s Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) initiative, and the ASEAN Secretariat co-organised the Workshop on Women’s Leadership and Gender Mainstreaming in Infrastructure today.

Over 80 participants from ASEAN and Australia, including representatives from LIB-SI, ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), and line ministries in charge of transport, energy, and women empowerment, attended the workshop, which focused on the role that women’s leadership and gender mainstreaming play in driving ASEAN’s sustainable infrastructure and connectivity objectives.

In her welcome remarks, Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN, Tiffany McDonald, highlighted ASEAN and Australia’s shared commitment to promoting gender equality, enhancing connectivity, and increasing sustainable infrastructure development throughout the region. Through the Aus4ASEAN Futures Initiative and its predecessor, Australia had been a strong supporter of ASEAN’s connectivity agenda, including the development and implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, development of the Rolling Pipeline of ASEAN Infrastructure Projects and its update, as well as accelerating implementation of the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy.

“Women working in the infrastructure sector face challenges in accessing leadership, employment, and economic opportunities. We must be intentional about advancing women’s leadership and integrating gender equality within infrastructure projects”, she said. “This workshop demonstrates Australia’s longstanding support for ASEAN’s Connectivity agenda and the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”

On behalf of LIB-SI Chair, Deputy Director General of Planning and Finance of Lao PDR’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Chanthasack Bottaphanith underscored the need to continue efforts to address gender inequality and provide equal opportunities for women in the infrastructure sector.

“We need to look at this from an economic and business as well as social perspectives, and integrate gender equality into policies, programmes, and projects at every level.  Infrastructure, together with supporting regulatory and management actions, is vital to growing the economic prosperity.  The challenges are increasingly complex as we seek sustainable, climate resilient and multi-modal solutions with the consequential need for greater collaboration across sectors, geographies, and with a wide range of stakeholders,” he added.

Sustainable and inclusive infrastructure is important to achieve a connected and integrated ASEAN region and is at the core of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Framework for Improving ASEAN Infrastructure Productivity.

The agenda of connectivity, resilience, and sustainable infrastructure is a priority for both the 2024 Lao PDR ASEAN Chair year and the ASEAN Connectivity post-2025 agenda.