Remarks by Representative Jenny Bloomfield at Virtual Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) Workshop on Women’s Participation In Public Life
27 October 2021
The Australian Office is delighted to co-host this GCTF forum on Women’s Participation in Public Life – our 8th GCTF forum to date.
I would like to thank our partners – Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, the American Institute in Taiwan, the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, Taiwan’s National Human Rights Commission, and implementing partner the Foundation for Women’s Rights Promotion and Development.
Since 2015, the GCTF has provided an outstanding opportunity to cooperate on issues of global significance as varied as health, law enforcement, humanitarian assistance, and green energy. I am very proud that the Australian Office is today co-hosting our first forum as a full partner of the GCTF, on a topic that is so central to all of our well-being - women’s full and equal economic and social participation.
Gender diverse and inclusive cultures are an asset to Australia, and to the world.
Societies that include women in all aspects of economic, political and cultural life are more vibrant, more inclusive, more productive and more stable, for everyone.
Although the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities with its immense strain on our healthcare systems, increased economic stressors, greater political and economic insecurity, and a rise in gender-based violence; it has also presented an opportunity to reflect on and empower women as change-makers, innovators and leaders.
In Australia, we have been making significant progress - women represent 51% of all members in the Australian Senate, 49.5% of all positions on Australian Government Boards, and more than 1/3 of positions on the boards of Australia’s largest companies.
But women globally continue to be under-represented in positions of influence - and there remains a long road ahead.
International partnerships, including through regional forums such as APEC, will be key to meeting this challenge. Taiwan has been a valued APEC member and contributor for 30 years. I congratulate Taiwan on this important milestone, and I am particularly proud of our work together in the APEC Women and Economy Sub-fund, through which Australia, Taiwan, the US and New Zealand help to institutionalise support for women’s economic participation across the region.
By sharing lessons and building on our commitment to gender equality at APEC, the GCTF, and other forums, we will continue to make progress at home in Australia and Taiwan, in our region, and around the world.
I look forward to today’s forum, and to our work together as a full GCTF partner, continuing to promote gender equality and helping overcome the remaining barriers to women’s active and full participation in public life, for the benefit of all.