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Women

and the ASEAN 2025: Locating the Gender and Human Rights Dimension of the
ASEAN Economic Community


Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary .............................................................................................................................. 3
2. About the Project ................................................................................................................................. 8
2.1. Background and Objectives of the Research ........................................................................................ 8
2.2. Significance of the Research .............................................................................................................. 10
2.3. Scope and Limitations of the Study .................................................................................................... 11
2.4. Methodology and Activities ............................................................................................................... 11
Introduction: The ................................................................................................................................ 12
3. Beginnings and Promise of the Regional Economic Integration .......................................................... 12
3.1. Indonesia and Philippines’ Leadership in ASEAN ....................................................................... 14
4. “Mixed Results”: Rising Economies, Persistent Poverty and Sexual Violence ................................ 15
5. Economic Rights,Women’s Rights, Sexual Violence and the ASEAN Economic Community .......... 19
5.1. Integration of Women’s Rights in ASEAN ................................................................................... 20
5.2. Sexual Violence as Economic Violence ....................................................................................... 22
6. Country Snapshots: Economic Growth, Poverty, and Gender Equality .......................................... 28
6.1. Philippines .................................................................................................................................. 28
6.2. Indonesia .................................................................................................................................... 30
7. The “Gender Gap” in ASEAN: Examining (Exploring) Women’s Issues in AEC’s Trade, Agriculture and
MSMEs Plans .............................................................................................................................................. 32
7.1. Androcentric Bias and Formal Equality: Locating Gender in the AEC Blueprint ......................... 34
7.2. Trade as Gender-Blind: Scarcity of Gender Considerations in Trade ......................................... 37
7.3. Food and Agriculture .................................................................................................................. 43
7.4. Intersectionality: attention to marginalized groups of women ................................................. 49
7.4.1. Women Workers, Migrant Workers, and Workers in the Agriculture Sector and Informal
Economy 51
7.4.2. Women with Disabilities ..................................................................................................... 57
7.4.3. Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender or LBT Women ............................................................ 60
7.4.4. Indigenous Women ............................................................................................................ 63

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7.4.5. Issues of Marginalized Women in MSMEs ......................................................................... 68
8. Conclusion: The Potential of AEC to Achieve Equality in Access, Opportunity and Results in the AEC
73
8.1. An Androcentric Bias? Invisibility of Gender in the AEC Blueprint ............................................. 74
8.2. ASEAN’s Formal and Protectionist Equality Approaches and Lack of Substantive Equality
Approach ................................................................................................................................................ 75
8.3. “De Jure” than “De Facto” Equality: Gaps in Implementation ................................................... 75





































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1. Executive Summary

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community 2025 Vision envisions deeper
integration and stronger cohesiveness of the regional community. In this direction, the ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) drives the economic integration by opening up of markets and facilitating trade in
ASEAN. The ASEAN is lauded for transforming into an increasingly well-regulated, dynamic and creative
platform for trade and commerce across what many regard as the world’s fastest-developing economic
region.1 However, the direction of the regional economic integration is found to have “mixed results” –
with the rising economy, poverty and inequality persists.

The paradox in economic growth and poverty has a woman’s face – with the rise of women's education
and workforce participation, is women's continuing high share of poverty, wage and promotion gaps in
employment, and increased exploitation and trafficking of women and girls for prostitution. While
economic growth provides more opportunities for women’s economic empowerment, gender hierarchy
remains. It persists in the division of power and responsibility in the family, where violence against
women remains unabated.

The research focuses on the three targets of the AEC: Trade, Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF); and
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). It highlights two countries: Philippines and Indonesia.
Both Philippines and Indonesia, both listed by World Bank as Lower Middle Income economies 2 share
positive forecasts in terms of their rising economies. Philippines has been tagged as the fastest-growing
economy in Asia,3 while Indonesia remains the largest economy in Southeast Asia. 4

There is dearth in literature on human rights and gender in relation to the AEC. Much of the literatures
on the AEC focus on trade, investments, competition. However, substantive accounts or stories of
communities that are affected in these targets continue to be limited. Further, there has been no study
yet using human rights instruments or standards in assessing the AEC.

The study adopts the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) or the Women’s Convention as a lens in surfacing the issues of women in relation to the select
AEC targets. It focuses particularly on the issues of women from marginalized sectors such as women
with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women, and indigenous women. These
marginalized women have intersecting and compounded issues as they are also found in different in
different groups – as workers, women producers and women in informal economy. The CEDAW
espouses the framework of substantive equality which mandates States to provide an enabling
environment where women are able to enjoy equally with men in terms of access, opportunity and
results of the AEC targets.

Specifically, the study aims to:


1
Bernie Magkilat, “ASEAN Economic Community seen as trading powerhouse.”Manila Bulletin. January 2, 2016,
accessible at http://www.mb.com.ph/asean-economic-community-seen-as-a-trading-powerhouse/
2
World Bank Country and Lending Groups. https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/906519-
world-bank-country-and-lending-groups
3
Asian Journal, 2016
4
WIEF, 2016

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a) Identify the issues of three marginalized groups-- women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and
transgender women and indigenous women who are also women workers, women producers,
and women in the informal economy from Indonesia and Philippines in relation to access,
opportunity, and results of the select AEC targets
b) Describe the challenges that impede women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender
women and indigenous women from benefiting from the AEC targets
c) Explore the initiatives of the AEC bodies in involving women's rights groups especially the
concerned marginalized groups of women; and human rights organizations and people's
organizations in its processes

The study is expository in nature. The research aims to surface the implications of the AEC, specifically
of the select targets to marginalized women. It seeks to start the conversation on how women,
particularly marginalized women and their rights are affected by the economic plans and policies of
ASEAN, which are adopted at the country level. The study seeks to provide a glimpse of the larger and
multi-faceted issues of women in relation to trade, agriculture, and MSMEs; and the ASEAN economic
framework as a whole.

The following are the key findings of the research:

1. At the time of this writing, the AEC remains the only pillar without a human rights mechanism.
The three human rights bodies, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the
Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the
ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers
(ACMW), and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) are lodged
in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), and the ASEAN Political Security Community
(APSC),respectively
2. The AEC as a whole, and the sectoral bodies on trade, agriculture, and MSMEs, have limited
engagement with civil society, human rights groups, and the marginalized sectors. The AEC
mainly deals with the business or private sector, which critics refer to as the “business elite.”
3. ASEAN’s efforts to increase economic growth have provided opportunities for women in the
region. There has been progress in areas of education, employment, and equality before the
law. However, the 2017 Global gender gap5 reveals that “the gaps between women and men
on economic participation and political empowerment remain wide.” Philippines, while
maintaining as the highest performer in the East Asia and the Pacific region, dropped to three
spots lower than the previous year. Indonesia meanwhile rose from ranking 88th in the
previous year to 84th in 2017.
4. The AEC and the select targets do not tackle the issue of sexual violence – missing out on the
“complex relationship between economic development, economic empowerment and
violence against women and girls” where economic development can potentially lead to
women’s economic empowerment, while also a site of violence.6

5
Global Gender Gap Index 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf; emphasis supplied.
6
Taylor G., Belle., Jacboson j., Pereznieto P., “DFID Guidance Note - Part A, Addressing Violence Against Women
and Girls Through DFID’s Economic Development and Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes”, February
2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/violence-against-woment-and-girls-economic-development-

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5. The AEC Blueprint as a whole reflects an androcentric bias leaning on formal equality
approach.
5.1. Most mainstream literature discussing the AEC Blueprint 2025 do not explicitly mention
women’s rights or human rights. In the ASEAN Economic Community Vision 2025, gender
is only explicitly mentioned in the initiative to strengthen the science, technology and
innovation sectors (C.9.) as well as strengthening the role of Micro, Small, and Medium
Enterprises (D.1). Concepts of substantive equality and addressing marginalized people’s
rights are relegated to the ASCC.
5.2. Asian developmental capitalism has resulted in a “neo-patriarchal” approach to bringing
women into the economy without a concern with the gendered assumptions behind that
inclusion. In the ASEAN Vision 2020 and succeeding action programmes, women were
referred to in the contexts of both creating “caring societies” and ensuring the resilience
of the family as the “basic unit” of society. Women’s issues were housed as socio-
cultural, not political in nature, as women were framed not only separate from political
concerns but fundamentally apolitical.
5.3. The AEC Blueprint uses generalized, male-centered language and mainly promotes formal
equality by providing access only to “skilled workers and professionals”. This in effect
excludes women, majority of whom occupy low-skilled work in ASEAN.
6. There are significant gender gaps found in the AEC and the three targets: Trade, Agriculture
and MSMEs Plans.
6.1. Trade targets looks to inclusivity and rights simply as access to employment for skilled
and educated workers, lacking any insight on economic disparities between men and
women and actively excludes the participation of marginalized women in the service
liberalization agenda.
6.2. Most businesses and industries capitalize on women’s productive work which is
considered cheap labor (e.g. in electronics, garments, etc.). However, without women’s
reproductive or care work attending to the needs of households, both the labor and
private sector will not be able to produce and earn profits.
6.3. In Food, Agriculture and Forestry, gender issues are related with climate change and
disaster prevention plans. However, there is no mention of women’s roles and
participation, as well as the impact of FAF liberalization under a single market and
production base to Southeast Asian women. The FAF plan does not provide sufficient
basis to address the constraints to women in the food, agriculture, and forestry sector
such as lack of access to productive resources (e.g. land, credit, and inputs), education,
rights, and services
6.4. For MSMEs, addressing women’s participation is merely limited to access to online
courses and education on finance, marketing and trade. This measure does not
specifically address women’s unequal access and obstacles to participation, business
ownership, and self-sufficiency in the MSME sector. sector. How women workers from
the informal economy can participate in the formal economy are also not addressed.
7. AEC and the select targets do not provide due attention to marginalized sectors.


and-womens-economic-empowerment; in Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
"Violence against Women and Women's Economic Empowerment." February 2017.

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7.1. Women Workers, Migrant Workers, and Workers in the Agriculture Sector and Informal
Economy: (a) removal of tariffs cause harms in local economies, affecting grassroots
women producers, mostly in impoverished rural areas, who would therefore seek job
opportunities elsewhere, contributing to the rising migration phenomenon; (b) AEC is
criticized for failing to recognize that most labor migration in the region involves less
skilled, low wage workers, occurring under temporary migration regimes, with irregular,
undocumented workers surpassing regular workers; (c) Women workers in the
agricultural sector are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, natural disasters, and
climate change, generally undertake work outside the formal economic sphere, and have
no access to social services like healthcare and education
7.2. Women with Disabilities: there is glaring lack of up-to-date, relevant data on persons with
disabilities (PWDs_ especially gender-segregated data, which only proves that women
with disabilities are truly disregarded in ASEAN discourse. PWDs also face systemic and
attitudinal barriers in families and societies, including double discrimination experienced
by girls and women with disabilities who are left behind in education and employment
7.3. Lesbians, Bisexual, and Transgender Women: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex
and queer (LGBTIQ) remain largely invisible and neglected especially in the AEC. LGBTIQ
persons are denied fundamental freedoms – from rights to free expression, political
association, family, health, and so on. There is an unabated and increasing trend of
criminalization of LGBTIQ persons in ASEAN. There is a pervasive lack of comprehensive
legal frameworks that recognize and protect LGBTIQ persons. LGBTIQ persons face
extensive discrimination at all stages of employment, from education and training to
access to employment, career opportunity and advancement, as well as in access to
employment and social security benefits.
7.4. Indigenous women: a) ASEAN instruments do not refer in any way to indigenous peoples
and their rights; b) the promotion of a single market and production base would be
detrimental to poorer, smaller economies and indigenous peoples’ communities; c)
indigenous women are more vulnerable to discrimination and layered violence due to the
entry of extractive industries into indigenous peoples' territories; and d) indigenous
women face not only threats to their livelihood and health, but also physical and sexual
violence
7.5. Women in MSMEs: a) inadequate access to productive resources, b) difficulty to sustain
and scale up enterprises,which happens more often among women-owned businesses
due to lack of financing, insufficient profitability, and personal reasons connected to
family responsibilities and balancing domestic duties c)lack of social preparation and
technical skills for entrepreneurship and lack of readiness for global markets; d) voiceless-
ness and lack of representation in governance and decisionmaking structures especially
for female entrepreneurs in the informal economy, and e) vulnerability and lack of access
to health and socio-legal protection again especially for owners and workers in the
informal economy
8. In Conclusion, the research found: a) AEC Blueprint 2025 is missing a gender-sensitive
framework on transformative equality that is inclusive, substantive, and addresses structural

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gender barriers and discrimination in ASEAN; b) AEC Blueprint’s lack of CEDAW’s
Transformative Equality approach can be attributed to its estrangement from the two other
Pillars, and the lack of regular consultations with civil society networks, rights organizations,
and those who would have a direct impact to the AEC’s development projects; and c) the
three targets on Trade, Agriculture, and MSMEs rarely include women in their approach, and if
they do, it is a single vision of a Southeast Asian woman: a micro-entrepreneur. The Targets
therefore do not include other dimensions of gender and does not acknowledge the
intersectionality of gender-related issues. Thus, the AEC entirely excludes LBT, indigenous
women, rural women, female food producers, women workers in the informal sector and
women with disabilities from the ASEAN Integration discourse and from the concept of the
“ASEAN woman.”
9. The study puts forward the following recommendations:
a) Integrate gender, women’s rights, intersectionality, and inclusiveness perspectives
with particular attention to, and ensuring meaningful participation and
representation of women CSOs especially from marginalized sectors in the
implementation of the AEC blueprint and its respective targets and action plans, at
the regional and country-level
b) Conduct further comprehensive study and systematic repository of data on gender
in the select targets, including incidence of sexual violence in workplace/ services
covered in the AFAS and MRA (engineering services, nursing services, architecture,
land surveying, medical practice, dental practice, accountancy, and tourism)
c) Develop and uphold civil society engagement: establish institutionalized spaces and
platforms within AEC bodies for women CSOs and marginalized group's meaningful
participation and regular engagement
d) Strengthen accessibility of information and programs of the AEC – create awareness
raising programs to address awareness deficit and ensure information reaches
grassroots community
e) Strengthen regulatory and accountability mechanisms to monitor and investigate
violations to women especially from marginalized sectors such as women with
disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender women, and indigenous women; and
implement adequate and effective remedies for violations of women’s and workers’
rights; and
f) Align ASEAN economic policy with international and regional instruments


2. About the Project

2.1 Background and Objectives of the Research



The ASEAN 2025 is the new vision of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prompting the new
era of community-building of the region. Anchored on the new vision, ASEAN sets out to consolidate the
regional Community, “building upon and deepening the integration process.” Towards this direction, the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025 is envisioned to be “highly integrated and cohesive;
competitive, innovative and dynamic; with enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; and a more
resilient, inclusive, and people-oriented, people-centred community, integrated with the global
economy.”

The ASEAN believes that by integrating ASEAN economies that the AEC becomes a single market and
production base. The AEC has positioned ASEAN at the center of global supply chains.” The Micro, Small
and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are cited as the “backbone of ASEAN economy” and the answer to
“grassroots” community building. In the Philippines, MSMEs account for 99.6 % of the total number of
establishments in the country, making it the Philippine economy’s backbone. The same is said about
Indonesia, hailed as “Southeast Asia's largest economy” where micro, small and medium sized
enterprises are seen as “the backbone of the Indonesian economy.”7 MSMEs in Indonesia account for 99
percent of the total number of enterprises in the country, creating a total of 107.6 million jobs, and
contributing 60.6 percent to Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP).8

However, notwithstanding goals of economic growth, fears remain that the AEC direction would
potentially intensify poverty and inequalities among and within countries, with particular and
differential impact on women and marginalized sectors. The Philippines and Indonesia embrace the
same direction of the AEC. The fears on the negative impacts of the AEC direction, especially on women
seem to have bearing. Women in Southeast Asia, such as in Philippines and Indonesia, trail behind men
in terms of employment, wages, land rights and access to credit and information technology, leadership
positions, among others.

Further, the AEC does not tackle the issue of sexual violence across its targets. To date, the AEC remains
the only pillar without a human rights mechanism. It mainly deals with the business or private sector,
and has limited engagement with civil society, human rights groups, and the marginalized sectors.

This study, “Women and the ASEAN 2025: Locating the Gender and Human Rights Dimension of the
ASEAN Economic Community” focuses specifically on the ASEAN Community 2025 Vision, the ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) 2025 Blueprint particularly, and its three targets-- (a) Trade in goods and

7
Citing the Speech made by Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati during the t the 12th World Islamic
Economic Forum (WIEF) in August 2016. See WIEF, Indonesian Economy: Micro, Small & Medium Sized Enterprises,
03 August 2016, https://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/indonesian-economy-micro-
small-medium-sized-enterprises/item7068?
8
WIEF, Indonesian Economy: Micro, Small & Medium Sized Enterprises, 2016

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services, (b) Food, Agriculture and Forestry; and (c) Strengthening the Role of Micro, Small, and Medium
Enterprises. Building on the seminal research on Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic
Community, jointly commissioned by ASEAN Secretariat, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific and the Friedrich‐Ebert‐Stiftung (FES), it seeks to deepen the discussion on the gender and
women’s rights implications of the AEC. It also attempts to show sexual violence as one of the critical
gender and women’s rights issues in the AEC.

The study adopts the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) or the Women’s Convention as a lens in surfacing the issues of women in relation to the select
AEC targets. It focuses particularly on the issues of women from marginalized sectors such as women
with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women, and indigenous women. These
marginalized women have intersecting and compounded issues as they are also found in different in
different groups – as workers, women producers and women in informal economy. The CEDAW
espouses the framework of substantive equality which mandates States to provide an enabling
environment where women are able to enjoy equally with men in terms of access, opportunity and
results of the AEC targets. In order to achieve substantive equality, it is important for institutions to look
into and address barriers that limit women’s full economic potential and contribution to the economy,
one of which is: sexual violence. Economic rights of women also include women’s right to access justice:
an enabling policy environment where policies and structures exist and are enforced providing for
women’s economic rights; and where remedies are available and dispensed when women are denied of
their rights.

The study also identifies initiatives and potential of the AEC bodies in involving women's rights groups
especially the identified sectors of women, and other human rights organizations and people's
organizations in its processes. These are seen as openings and spaces for CSO engagement especially in
relation to gender and human rights, including sexual violence in the AEC or economic pillar of the
ASEAN.

Specifically, the study aims to:

a) Identify the issues of three marginalized groups-- women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and
transgender women and indigenous women who are also women workers, women producers,
and women in the informal economy from Indonesia and Philippines in relation to access,
opportunity, and results of the select AEC targets

b) Describe the challenges that impede women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender
women and indigenous women from benefiting from the AEC targets

c) Explore the initiatives of the AEC bodies in involving women's rights groups especially the
concerned marginalized groups of women; and human rights organizations and people's
organizations in its processes


The study is expository in nature. The research aims to surface the implications of the AEC, specifically
of the select targets to marginalized women. It seeks to start the conversation on how women,
particularly marginalized women and their rights are affected by the economic plans and policies of
ASEAN, which are adopted at the country level. The focus and emphasis on the issues of the different
marginalized women reflects the heterogeneity and intersectionality of women and their issues. The

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study seeks to provide a glimpse of the larger and multi-faceted issues of women in relation to trade,
agriculture, and MSMEs; and the ASEAN economic framework as a whole.

The issues covered in the study represent an “initial sample” – or the tip of the iceberg – of a far deeper,
more complex, and wide-ranging issues of marginalized women as situated against the ASEAN Economic
Community’s architecture and processes. It serves as a is expected, and hoped, that further research will
be undertaken to pursue a more in-depth discussion and examination of the implications and impact of
the AEC on women from marginalized sectors and communities.

2.2 Significance of the Research



The ASEAN 2025 Vision has been adopted in the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur last 22 November
2015. While the said vision prompts the new era of community building, most of the targets which are
now referred to as “Characteristics and Elements” are continuing targets of the ASEAN, including the
AEC. It is a timely and strategic opportunity for the study to assess and locate the gender and human
rights dimension of the AEC under the new vision.

There is dearth in literature on human rights and gender in relation to the AEC. The AEC, and the ASEAN
as a whole, does not have gender indicators across its thrusts. The AEC remains the only pillar without a
human rights mechanism. For the most part, the AEC does not engage with gender and human rights
issues as though seeing the “economic” devoid of human rights and gender implications. Should there
be studies on gender in ASEAN, gap remains in terms of the voices and narratives of women from
marginalized sectors.

The economic and peaceful aims of the ASEAN reiterated in the new vision are intertwined and
indivisible. To this day, question remains as to how the peoples, especially the marginalized
communities including women – will be able to benefit from the plans and undertakings of the ASEAN
given the formal establishment of the “integrated’ ASEAN community and the ASEAN 2025 vision.

Much of the literatures on the AEC focus on trade, investments, competition. However, substantive
accounts or stories of communities that are affected in these targets continue to be limited. The study is
of the view that it should be the realities and perspectives of the communities that should inform the
agenda and direction of the "new' ASEAN Community and the implementation of the ASEAN 2025
vision. The study sees itself instrumental in bringing the stories and narratives of marginalized
communities especially women to the ASEAN, the AEC in particular. Anecdotal evidence points to the
AEC lacking initiative to engage with civil society or human rights and peoples' organizations except for
business or private sector.

There are scarce published studies that capture the realities and stories of affected communities such as
women to bring the “human” face of the AEC. This study will endeavor to capture the stories and
narratives of marginalized women –women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender women,
and indigenous women and their issues in relation to the AEC.

Further, there is not yet a study using human rights instruments or standards in assessing the AEC. The
CEDAW as the Women’s Convention with its principle on substantive equality or equality in access,

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opportunity and results is potentially the first – which can also be replicated using other human rights
instruments.

2.3 Scope and Limitations of the Study



The research focuses on the AEC and its three targets on trade, agriculture, and MSMEs. It covers the
said targets as depicted in the AEC 2025 blueprint, and the corresponding national plans that adopt,
integrate and operationalize them.

The study also highlights two countries: Philippines and Indonesia. Both Philippines and Indonesia, both
listed by World Bank as Lower Middle Income economies 9 share positive forecasts in terms of their
rising economies. Philippines has been tagged as the fastest-growing economy in Asia,10 while Indonesia
remains the largest economy in Southeast Asia. 11 However, a recent report found that majority of the
poor people in ASEAN are also found in the two countries. For purposes of this research, Philippines and
Indonesia serve as good examples of the paradox or mixed results of ASEAN’s economic development:
with the mixed results of rising economies and at the same time, persistence of poverty.

The study specifically identifies the issues of marginalized women, such as women with disabilities,
indigenous women, and lesbians, bisexual, and transgender women. These marginalized women are
themselves workers, food producers, and involved in trade, informal economy, and MSMEs.
The research findings are drawn mainly from available and accessible data from ASEAN and government
documents from Philippines and Indonesia. Most of these data are accessed through online or electronic
sources; and from key informant interviews and focus group discussions with representatives from
relevant government offices, micro-enterprises, women with disabilities, LBT women, indigenous
women, etc.

The ASEAN Secretariat, particularly the offices with work related to trade, agriculture, and micro-
enterprises, was targeted for interviews. However due to unavailability, and some representatives’ view
of their limited mandate in relation to handling women’s issues, the research team was not able to hold
interviews with them.

2.4 Methodology and Activities




The research is anchored on feminist action research. The lead researchers from the academe worked
closely with the women's movements, such as the regional network, Weaving Women’s Voices in ASEAN
(WEAVE). WEAVE is a self-organized regional network composed of women’s organizations, national
networks, and advocates from six countries in Southeast Asia namely, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia,


9
World Bank Country and Lending Groups. https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/906519-
world-bank-country-and-lending-groups
10
Asian Journal, 2016
11
WIEF, 2016

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Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Myanmar. The study is led by two members, Women’s Legal and
Human Rights Bureau (WLB) based in Philippines, and Kalyanamitra, based in Indonesia.

As a feminist action research, it proceeds from the standpoint that concrete and lived realities of women
are core sites from which to build knowledge and generate social change.12 WLB and Kalyanamitra
conducted key informant interviews and developed case studies in their respective countries together
with the lead researchers. The study identified the human rights and gender issues by bringing the
narratives and voices of women through the desk reviews capturing women’s issues and perspectives on
the AEC. The research has the potential to be replicated in other ASEAN Member States. It is envisioned
that similar case studies will be developed in other countries in Southeast Asia in the future.

The study conducted: a) desk reviews, b) key informant interviews (KII), and c) focused group
discussions. The following were the activities undertaken in the course of the research:

a) Desk review on pertinent human rights and gender issues of women with disabilities,
lesbians, bisexual and transgender women and indigenous women who are also women
workers, rural women or women producers and women in informal economy, in relation to
the three select AEC targets
b) Desk review or scanning of the relevant sectoral bodies under the ASEAN Economic
Community including their national counterparts or focal government agencies at the
country-level for the three select AEC targets-- Trade in goods and services, Food,
Agriculture and Forestry; and Strengthening the Role of Micro, Small, and Medium
Enterprises.
c) Key informant interviews with the AEC relevant bodies, particularly the national
counterparts or focal country offices in Jakarta and Philippines; and
d) Focused group discussion with women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender
women and indigenous women who are also women workers, rural women or women
producers and women in informal economy in Indonesia and Philippines.

The research team is of the view that economics data and indicators – which are heavily quantitative –
may oftentimes fall short of capturing the depth and breadth of women’s situation and issues. Hence,
the research posits that women’s narratives or stories based on their perspective and own story-telling,
along with qualitative studies undertaken by non-economic institutions, including non-government
organizations (NGOs), women’s movements, and feminist social researchers, should be given equal
premium and taken into account in economic policy formulation and programming.

3. Introduction: The Beginnings and Promise of the Regional Economic


Integration

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is characterized by diverse political regimes and systems of
government -- from military regimes, monarchies, communist-socialist states to opening democracies.
The beginnings of the regional bloc can be traced in the wake of the Post-Cold War area. The “founding
forefathers”13 from five autocratic-led, non-communist nations14 built the ASEAN towards aims of

12
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Access to Justice in Plural Legal System, unpublished; 2015.
13
“The Founding of ASEAN”, http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/history/ retrieved 16 May 2016

12

“preventing interstate conflicts and growing communist movements in the region.”15 Some analysts
believe that ASEAN is in a strategic position, “standing at the forefront” and with the potential to be
“convener and center of future regional security architecture in East Asian regional security involving
regional powers such as China and Japan.”16

The founding document which is the1967 ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) drew the bifurcated
aims and purposes of the Association, namely, “accelerate the economic growth, social progress and
cultural development in the region” and “regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice
and the rule of law.” In 2007, the ASEAN became a rules-based organization with a legal entity in the
adoption of the ASEAN Charter. The Charter also provided for the establishment of a human rights body
which would, in turn, bring forth the “pillars of a regional human rights system.”17
The Cha-Am HuaHin Declaration on the ASEAN Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015
established the ASEAN Roadmap, which formally instated the three Community Blueprints – Economic,
Political-Security, and Socio-Cultural and the Initiatives for ASEAN Integration (IAI). This paved the way
to what is now known as the ASEAN integration. The regional bloc formulated the “ASEAN Vision
202018” which envisaged “ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in
peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a
community of caring societies.”

Founding of ASEAN ASEAN as a Rules-based Association ASEAN Community 2025 Vision
(Bangkok Declaration 1967) (2015)
(ASEAN Charter 2007)

Framework
Agreement
Bali Concord Roadmap
Acceleration
on II: for an
ASEAN of ASEAN
Enhancing Formation ASEAN
2020 of ASEAN Community
ASEAN Community
Vision Economic 2015
Economic 2009-2015
Cooperation Community
2009
2007
1992 2003
1997

Figure 1. ASEAN’s Regional Integration Timeline


The year 2015 was a key milestone in the ASEAN integration agenda,19 prompting the “new era for the
region.20” The hallmark summit, the 27TH ASEAN Summit held last 18-22 November 2015 signifies the


14
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
15
“ASEAN’s Future and Asian Integration.”Working Paper. November 2012; in Women’s Legal and Human Rights
Bureau (WLB), “Missing Women: Implications of the ASEAN Integration on Women Migrant Workers’ Rights”,
2015.
16
Joshua Kurlantzick
17
Philwomen Position on the Adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
18
ASEAN Vision 2020 was adopted by the ASEAN Heads of States during the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN on 15
December 1997 at Kuala Lumpur
19
ASEAN Secretariat. 2015, 4

13

“formal establishment of the ASEAN community 2015” making ASEAN a “full-fledged politically cohesive,
economically integrated, socially responsible Community.21” The ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN
Community 2025 Vision; which is expected to “chart the path of the ASEAN Community in the next ten
years.”22 It articulates ASEAN’s goals and aspirations as the regional grouping enters the next phase of
consolidation, further integration and stronger cohesiveness as a Community.23 The realization of the
ASEAN Community 2025 Vision is through the implementation of the three Blueprints namely, ASEAN
Political- Security Community (APSCC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-
Cultural Community (ASCC).


3.1. Indonesia and Philippines’ Leadership in ASEAN

The leadership of ASEAN is shared among its members. As the ASEAN Charter provides, the Chairship24
of ASEAN rotates annually according to alphabetical order.25 The Chair in turn heads the ASEAN Summit
and related summits, the ASEAN Coordinating Council, the three ASEAN Community Councils, relevant
ASEAN Sectoral Ministerial Bodies and senior officials, and the Committee of Permanent
Representatives.

Indonesia and Philippines were among the five founding members of ASEAN, together with Malaysia,
Singapore, and Thailand, by signing the Bangkok Declaration on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand.26
Then-Philippine foreign affairs secretary Narciso Ramos was first to speak for the official statements,
and he called for stronger cooperation in the region, stating that

“the fragmented economies of Southeast Asia, (with) each country
pursuing its own limited objectives and dissipating its meager resources
in the overlapping or even conflicting endeavors of sister states carry
the seeds of weakness in their incapacity for growth and their self-
perpetuating dependence on the advanced, industrial nations. ASEAN,
therefore, could marshal the still untapped potentials of this rich region
through more substantial united action.”27

Meanwhile, political analysts have observed that Indonesia’s role in ASEAN in its nascent years is largely
driven by Indonesia’s foreign policy during the time of President Suharto. They have noted that
Indonesia’s objective is to regain trust of neighboring countries and focus on regional stability and

20
ASEAN Secretariat http://www.asean.org/to-launch-the-asean-community-leaders-gather-in-malaysia-for-the-
27th-asean-summit
21
ASEAN Secretariat http://www.asean.org/to-launch-the-asean-community-leaders-gather-in-malaysia-for-the-
27th-asean-summit
22
Ibid.
23
Ibid.
24
ASEAN uses “Chairmanship” which women’s networks such as the Philwomen on ASEAN have called out for
reflecting a male-centric language. This study adopts the proposed nomenclature, “Chairship” in lieu of
Chairmanship.
25
“ASEAN Chair,” http://asean.org/asean/asean-chair/
26
ASEAN2017.ph, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017. http://www.asean2017.ph/ten-milestones-of-the-philippines-
membership-in-asean/
27
History: The Founding of ASEAN. ASEAN.org. Retrieved August 8, 2017 http://asean.org/asean/about-
asean/history/

14

cooperation.28 It was Adam Malik, Presidium Minister for Political Affairs and Minister for Foreign Affairs
of Indonesia, representing Indonesia envisioned Southeast Asia becoming ““a region which can stand on
its own feet, strong enough to defend itself against any negative influence from outside the region.”29

It was during Indonesia’s term as Chair of ASEAN in 1976 that some of the important founding
documents were adopted, such as the Bali Declaration and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation both
signed during the First ASEAN Summit in that year. The Bali Concord reaffirms the commitment of
ASEAN in promoting peace, progress, prosperity and welfare of ASEAN peoples, consolidate the
achievements of ASEAN and expand cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and political fields. The
programme of action under the social field mentions “support for the active involvement of all sectors
and levels of the ASEAN communities, particularly the women and youth, in development efforts.
(ASEAN, 1976).

The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976) affirms ASEAN’s commitment to the UN
Charter, respect for justice and the rule of law. It is through this treaty that ASEAN formalizes the
fundamental principles of sovereignty, non-interference, peaceful settlement of disputes, renunciation
of threat or use of force, and effective cooperation among ASEAN Member-States. (Article 2). These
principles are collectively known today as “The ASEAN Way”.

The Philippines’ recent Chairship30 of ASEAN officially began in January 1, 2017, which is also the 50th
Anniversary of ASEAN. The theme of the Chairship is “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” The
Philippine government had announced its six thematic priorities to guide the Philippines in its goals for
ASEAN. They are: i) A People-Oriented, People-Centered ASEAN; ii) Peace and Stability in the Region iii)
Maritime Security and Cooperation; iv) Inclusive, Innovation-Led Growth; v) ASEAN’s Resiliency and vi)
ASEAN: A Model of Regionalism, a Global Player.31

4. “Mixed Results”: Rising Economies, Persistent Poverty and Sexual Violence



The ASEAN Economic Community, with the economies of the member states combined, boasts of
ranking “collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest in the world” in 2014.32
ASEAN believes that by integrating ASEAN economies that the AEC becomes a single market and
production base.33 The AEC is seen as “a tool to make ASEAN become more dynamic and competitive. It
has positioned ASEAN at the center of global supply chains.”34 To date, ASEAN has been lauded to have


28
Felix Heiduk, "Indonesia in ASEAN Regional Leadership between Ambition and Ambiguity." April 2016.
https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/indonesia-in-asean/
29
The Founding of ASEAN, http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/history/
30
Women’s groups such as Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) and Philwomen on ASEAN have called
for renaming Chairmanship to “Chairship” in various meeting with Philippine government. The call is in line with
the advocacy for ASEAN to reflect gender-sensitivity in its work and identity. (citation?)
31
ASEAN Chairmanship Primer 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017. https://www.asean2017.ph/wp-
content/uploads/ASEAN-Chairmanship-Primer.pdf
32
ASEAN Website
33
Bernie Magkilat, “ASEAN Economic Community seen as trading powerhouse.”Manila Bulletin. January 2, 2016,
accessible at http://www.mb.com.ph/asean-economic-community-seen-as-a-trading-powerhouse/
34
Ibid.

15

transformed into an increasingly well-regulated, dynamic and creative platform for trade and commerce
across what many regard as the world’s fastest-developing economic region.”35

The AEC is the “realization of the end goal of economic integration.”36 Economic cooperation has been
seen as the main driving force behind ASEAN Community-building and integration efforts. The impetus
of the ASEAN economic integration was through the Framework Agreement on Enhancing ASEAN
Economic Cooperation signed in 1992.37 “

The ASEAN Economic Community measures progress in economic integration by the opening up of
markets and facilitating trade in ASEAN. The AEC’s emphasis on regional integration through
commercialization, foreign direct investment, and participation in the global market urges ASEAN
member-states to liberalize their economies, particularly in the Trade, FAF, and MSME sectors. These
sectors have been developed to cater to ASEAN’s business community.

AEC 2025 Vision and Blueprint

ASEAN Economic Community

AEC 2025 Targets:


• Trade
• Food, Agriculture and
Forestry
• Micro, Small, and
Medium Enterprises
(MSMEs)

Figure 2. The ASEAN Economic Community Targets


The AEC remains centered on business, market, and employment, where “…the next decade of the AEC
will enable more ASEAN people and businesses to work more productively together across borders; this
will help them start new businesses, expand existing market bases, strategically source goods and
services within the region as well as create or secure employment.”38 The perceived “stability” of the
ASEAN economies has attracted foreign investors to “shift their preferences to the region.”39 The AEC
Blueprint provides “clarity about the region’s policy agenda,” reduce policy uncertainties, and in turn,
enhance foreign investors’ confidence.40

35
Ibid.
36
Declaration on the ASEAN Community Blueprint adopted on 20 November 2007
37
ASEAN Secretariat, A Blueprint for Growth: ASEAN Economic Community 2015: Progress and Key Achievements.
Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat, November 2015. Accessible at
http://www.asean.org/storage/images/2015/November/aec-page/AEC-2015-Progress-and-Key-Achievements.pdf
38
ASEAN Secretariat, 2015
39
Ibid.
40
Ibid.

16


However, promoting economic integration through liberalization that allows the free movement of
goods, services, and skilled labor, and also the freer flow of capital, appears to be a double-edged
sword. Positive outcomes are that “with closer integration and movement of the factors of production,
industries will be restructured with the objective of generating higher economic growth and raising the
income of the people” which would improve the standard of living of ASEAN people and eradicate
poverty.41 The benefits of economic integration for laborers are through the increase in wages and
employment opportunities. These however are in contested, non-sustainable sectors that may have
negative impacts on the environment and livelihood of marginalized communities. 42 This prompted
critics to view the ASEAN Vision 2025 as an “elite project.”43 Hence in view of the continuing poverty and
inequality in the region, “narrowing the development gap” and “alleviation of poverty” form part of the
aims of the AEC 44

Amidst growth during the past three decades or so, ASEAN continues to be confronted with around 95
million poor people by late 2000s until 2014.45 The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
(ERIA) study reveals that “the gap between rich and poor AMSs remains very large and ASEAN Member
States (AMS) have a mixed record on income inequality.” 46 According to the “ASEAN Statistical Report
on Millennium Development Goals 2017” published by the ASEAN Secretariat on August 2017, “ASEAN is
a “full achiever” in goal 1: Eradicate Exteme Poverty and Hunger.”47 The report covers the period
between 1990 and 2015.

However, a recent report revealed the persistence of poverty in ASEAN. The report entitled “ASEAN-
China-UNDP Report on Financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ASEAN: Strengthening
Integrated National Financing Frameworks to Deliver the 2030 Agenda,” found that “while extreme
poverty has fallen across the region from 17% in 2005 to 7% in 2013, many of the working poor remain
vulnerable to falling back in to poverty.”48 Launched on November 19, 2017, it reported that an
estimated 36 million people in the region still live below the international poverty line. 49 Majority are
from the Indonesia and Philippines, which comprise almost 90 percent of the region’s poor.” 50

The global surge of economic development (?) has complex and contradictory influences on women’s
economic equality – with the rise of women's education and workforce participation, is women's
continuing high share of poverty, wage, and promotion gaps in employment and increased exploitation


41
Abidin. “Mainstreaming Human Security in the ASEAN Economic Community.”, 34.
42
Abidin. “Mainstreaming Human Security in the ASEAN Economic Community.”, 34.
43
Supply citation
44
Theoben Jerdan C. Orosa “ASEAN Integration in Human Rights: Problems and Prospects for Legalization and
Institutionalization.”
45
Ibid, 41.
46
Ibid, emphasis supplied.
47
ASEAN Secretariat, “ASEAN Statistical Report on Millennium Development Goals 2017,” August 2017
http://www.aseanstats.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ASEAN_MDG_2017.pdf
48
ASEAN Secretariat, “Publication on financing the Sustainable Development Goals in ASEAN.” ASEAN Secretariat
News. November 17, 2017. http://asean.org/launched-publication-on-financing-the-sustainable-development-
goals-in-asean/; emphasis supplied.
49
ASEAN Secretariat, 2017; emphasis supplied.
50
ASEAN Secretariat, 2017

17

and trafficking of women and girls for prostitution. 51 Gender hierarchy also persists as reflected in the
division of power and responsibility in the family, where violence against women remains unabated. 52


The paradox in economic growth and poverty has a woman’s face – with the rise of women's education
and workforce participation, is women's continuing high share of poverty, wage, and promotion gaps in
employment and increased exploitation and trafficking of women and girls for prostitution. 53 While
economic growth provides more opportunities for women’s economic empowerment, gender hierarchy
remains. It persists in the division of power and responsibility in the family, where violence against
women also continues to be unabated. 54

In the Chair’s Statement in the 31st ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN reaffirms its “commitments to eliminate
all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, and to ensure gender equality and
empowerment of women and girls, towards realising an inclusive, people-oriented, people-centred
ASEAN Community.”55 It also supported the development of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on the
Collection and Analysis of Data on Violence Against Women and Girls. 56 During the Summit, women’s
groups who are member s of Weaving Women’s Voices in Southeast Asia (WEAVE), called for sexual
violence to be part of the central agenda of ASEAN. In WEAVE’s statement, the issue of sexual violence
was situated against the emerging authoritarian regimes and intensifying culture of impunity in the
region.57 The Statement highlighted how the issue of sexual violence against women and girls are
rendered invisible in ASEAN. WEAVE put forward the following recommendations for ASEAN to: a) end


55
See “Chairman’s Statement of the 31st ASEAN Summit.” http://asean.org/storage/2017/11/final-
chairman%E2%80%99s-statement-of-31st-asean-summit.pdf
56
See “Chairman’s Statement of the 31st ASEAN Summit.” http://asean.org/storage/2017/11/final-
chairman%E2%80%99s-statement-of-31st-asean-summit.pdf
57
See “Women's Groups Urge ASEAN to Put Sexual Violence on Agenda”
https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20171113/281792809311883; “Women
activists decry sexual violence in Asean,” http://opinion.inquirer.net/108693/women-activists-decry-sexual-
violence-asean#ixzz51InwlXIg; and “Invisible,” http://opinion.inquirer.net/108764/invisible

18

sexual violence in the region, b) make sexual violence and access to justice of women and girl children
part of the agenda of ASEAN; and c) take strong action to ensure that the region is free from any form of
sexual violence.

5. Economic Rights,Women’s Rights, Sexual Violence and the ASEAN Economic


Community


ASEAN’s efforts to increase economic growth have provided opportunities for women in the region.
There has been progress in areas of education, employment, and equality before the law.58 A substantial
number of studies show how the opportunity for women to earn and control income is correlated with
increased economic development59 and total factor productivity gains.60

Societies with lower income inequality and gender discrimination tend to have faster economic
growth.61 Recent evidence shows that “enhanced gender equality increases the level of investments in a
country.”62 Further, “more productive workforce, through greater gender equality in employment and
education, increases the rates of return on investments and attracts more investors.” 63 According to the
UN Women, “when more women work, economies grow.” 64 With the increase in female labour force
participation or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation comes
faster economic growth.65 Similarly, World Bank reported that improving women’s access and
eliminating unequal access to economic participation in Asia could enhance productivity in the region
from 7-18 percent.66

In order to sustain these gains, the AEC in steering the direction of economic growth in the region must
address and refrain from aggravating the “economic costs of gender inequality.”67 Gender inequality
affects the gains from trade policy outcomes and economic growth. Based on an IMF study, gender
inequality creates an average income loss of 17.5 per cent in the long run for developing countries and
14 per cent for OECD countries.68 The study shows income loss due to gender gaps in the
entrepreneurship and labor markets for nine ASEAN Member States. 69


58
Roberta Clarke, “Women are a potential boost to the ASEAN economy,” Phnom Penh Post, 9 August 2016
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/analysis-and-op-ed/women-are-potential-boost-asean-economy
59
Heintz 2006 in Jha, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena, 19
60
Loko and Diouf 2009, Jha, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena, 19
61
Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena, 19
62
IMF 2014, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena, 26
63
UN IAWGE, 2011, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena, 26
64
UN Women, Economic Empowerment: Facts and Figures. http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-
empowerment/facts-and-figures
65
OECD, 2012, UN Women
66
WB, 2012, Araya Thongsame, Gender Equality in ASEAN: Lesson from the Philippines and the Road Ahead,
Warwick ASEAN Conference, January 31, 2016. http://warwickaseanconference.com/gender-equality-in-asean-
lesson-from-the-philippines-and-the-road-ahead/
67
Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena
68
Teignier, 2015, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena,14
69
Teignier, 2015, Shreyasi and AbhaShriSaxena,14

19

Women are positioned at a different starting point relative to men, and therefore not in a position to
take advantage of the expanding economic opportunities that come with trade expansion.70 This
uneven playing field is attributed to different gender roles, the relationship between women and men in
society, and women’s unequal access to economic resources (such as land, credit, and technology).71
While trade liberalization alone may not worsen gender inequality, women would still fare worse with
their inability/ lack of opportunity to participate fully in the post-liberalization economic growth process.
72


The 2017 Global gender gap73 reveals that “the gaps between women and men on economic
participation and political empowerment remain wide: only 58% of the economic participation gap has
been closed—a second consecutive year of reversed progress and the lowest value measured by the
Index since 2008—and about 23% of the political gap, unchanged since last year against a long-term
trend of slow but steady improvement.

5.1. Integration of Women’s Rights in ASEAN


There are ASEAN documents that have specific references to women, the 1988 Declaration of the
Advancement of Women, the 2004 Declaration against Trafficking in Persons, particularly Women and
Children, the 2004 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women; the 2012 ASEAN Human
Rights Declaration (AHRD) and its ‘twin’ document, the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the
AHRD; and the 2013 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAC) and Elimination
of Violence against Children (EVAC), and their respective Regional Plan of Actions (RPA).

In the ASEAN architecture, women’s issues are tackled mostly in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
(ASCC). ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children
(ACWC) under the ASCC, has the specific mandate to look into the promotion and protection of the
rights of women and children. ACWC reports to the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and
Development (AMMSWD). Meanwhile, the sectoral body that facilitates ‘ASEAN cooperation on
women’s issues’ is the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women (AMMW). The coordination and
monitoring of the implementation of ASEAN’s key regional priorities and cooperation in women’s issues
and concerns are carried out by the AMMW which meets regularly every year. On the other hand, under
the Political Security, the AICHR which serves as the overarching human rights body, also tackles


73
Global Gender Gap Index 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf; emphasis supplied.
73
Global Gender Gap Index 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf; emphasis supplied.

20

women’s rights. AICHR is the overarching body with a cross-cutting mandate that handles matters
related to human rights cooperation with other ASEAN bodies, external partners and stakeholders.

Women’s rights and issues started to be discussed in ASEAN in 1981 and the first ASEAN document
pertinent to women— the Declaration on the Advancement of Women was released in 1988, coinciding
with the United Nations (UN) Decade of Women and the global movement on women’s rights. The said
Declaration was operationalized in 1992.

The ASEAN Committee on Women was formed in 2002. In 2003, ASEAN released a statement
encouraging all member states to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW). In 2004, ASEAN released the Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons
Particularly Women and Children as well as the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against
Women.

Based on the declarations and work plans previously released by ASEAN, the following are its views
relating to VAW:

• ASEAN is cognizant of the multiple roles of women in the family, society and nation
• VAW impairs women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms
• Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, rape, harassment, and the
practice of dowry, among others



Figure. Women’s Rights in ASEAN


21


5.2. Sexual Violence as Economic Violence



Sexual violence is pervasive in Southeast Asia. According to the article by Southeast Asian Press Alliance
(SEAPA), published on December, 2017, “one in three women in Indonesia, and one in five in the
Philippines, have experienced different forms of violence against women.”74 WEAVE’s 2016 research
entitled, “Coming out of the Dark: Pursuing Access to Justice in Cases of Sexual Violence in ASEAN”
reveals that sexual violence against women and girls, as well as child abuse, is widespread in Southeast
Asia. WEAVE’s research covered six countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia,
Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand which comprise majority of ASEAN Member States. In the course of
the research however, it was found that there is lack of systematic repository of data on sexual violence
both at the country and regional level. Based on UN Women’s 2010 “Fast facts: statistics on violence
against women and girls”, 30 to 40% women across Asia, such as in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and
the Republic of Korea, suffer workplace sexual harassment. 75

The World Health Organization, in its 2013 report, “Global and regional estimates of violence against
women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence”76
found that “overall, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate
partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.” According to the report “evidence [that does] exist
reveals that women who have experienced this form of violence are 2.3 times more likely to have
alcohol use disorders and 2.6 times more likely to experience depression or anxiety.” The report shows
the magnitude of the problem --

both intimate violence and non-partner sexual violence are widespread and
that they have important effects on women’s physical, sexual and reproductive,
and mental health. In combination, these findings send a powerful message that
violence against women is not a small problem that only occurs in some pockets
of society, but rather is a global public health problem of epidemic proportions,
requiring urgent action.


When women experience sexual violence, it affects her well-being and productivity; and in turn limits
her contribution to the economy and her own economic autonomy. The “complex relationship between
economic development, economic empowerment and violence against women and girls” show how
economic development can lead to women’s economic empowerment, while also a site of violence.77


74
Amanda Siddharta, “Can A Regional Body Like ASEAN Eliminate Violence against Women?” Southeast Asian Press
Alliance (SEAPA), December 20, 2017. https://www.seapa.org/can-a-regional-body-like-asean-eliminate-violence-
against-women/; emphasis supplied.
75
UN Women, “Fast facts: statistics on violence against women and girls” at:
http://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/299-fast-facts-statistics-on-violence-against-women-and-girls-.html
76
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/85239/1/9789241564625_eng.pdf

77
Taylor G., Belle., Jacboson j., Pereznieto P., “DFID Guidance Note - Part A, Addressing Violence Against Women
and Girls Through DFID’s Economic Development and Women’s Economic Empowerment Programmes”, February
2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/violence-against-woment-and-girls-economic-development-

22

Markets and workplace, including journeys to work can also be “locations of violence, and women
who gain economic power sometimes face a backlash from their partners or community.”78 Further, it
is also found that “[w]omen who face violence may be less likely to access economic empowerment,
experience economic development, or control assets.”

Loss of income and increased costs for women who experience violence, due to the cost
to access services and days off work, are among the results of sexual violence.79 Women
who face violence have been observed to have lower earnings. 80 “For women who face
violence, earnings from formal wage work are 60% lower, compared to women who do not
experience such violence.”81 For instance, direct costs of domestic violence in Vietnam is
equivalent to 21% of women’s monthly income; while “domestic violence survivors earn 35%
less than women not abused.”82 Further, “women who are exposedto intimate partner violence
are employed in higher numbers in casual and part-time work.”83

Studies reveal the high cost of violence against women and girls. In Canada for instance, “the
cost of violence against women could amount to around 2 per cent of the global gross domestic product
(GDP). This is equivalent to 1.5 trillion, approximately, the of the economy of Canada.”84 Domestic and
intimate partner violence was found to “cause more deaths and entail much higher economic costs than
homicides or civil wars. Violence in the home is 6.5 times more costly than homicide, and 50 times more
costly than civil war.”85

Growing evidences point to the reality “that VAW has inter-generational effects, that children from
households where VAW is perpetrated have lower job performance, stability and earnings in later life.”86
There are evidences on the inter-generational effects of violence; children from households where VAW
is perpetrated have lower job performance, stability and earnings in later life.87


and-womens-economic-empowerment; in Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
"Violence against Women and Women's Economic Empowerment." February 2017.
78
Taylor G., Belle., Jacboson j., Pereznieto P.,, 2015; in Anna-Karin Jatfors, 2017
79
Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, "Violence against Women and Women's
Economic Empowerment." February 2017. http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/Session%203%20-
%20Anna-Karin%20Jatfors.pdf
80
Taylor G., Belle., Jacboson j., Pereznieto P.,, 2015; in Anna-Karin Jatfors, 2017
81
Report of the Secretary-General (2016). Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against
women and girls. United Nations, General Assembly, Seventy-first session, Item 27 of the provisional agenda,
Advancement of Women, A/71/219, 27 July 2016.
82
UN Women (2013). The costs of violence, understanding the costs of violence against women and girls and its
response: selected findings and lessons learned from Asia and the Pacific.
83
World Bank (2015). Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal.
84
World Health Organization, “Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health
effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence,” 2013.
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/85239/1/9789241564625_eng.pdf
85
World Health Organization, 2013
86
DUVVURY et al., “Intimate Partner Violence: Economic Costs and Implications for Growth and Development”,
Gender Equality and Development, Women’s voice, Agency and Participation Research Series No.3, 2013
87
DUVVURY et al., “Intimate Partner Violence: Economic Costs and Implications for Growth and Development”,
Gender Equality and Development, Women’s voice, Agency and Participation Research Series No.3, 2013; in Anna-
Karin Jatfors, 2017

23

A regional feminist forum, "Strengthening Women’s Rights Advocacy in ASEAN: Policy Alternatives for
Regional Integration, Governance and Justice" held on November 2017, explored the nexus of economic
rights and sexual violence. The forum tackled how sexual violence is related to women's economic
vulnerability. For instance, there is a widely unreported cases of sexual harassment and rape among
women in contractual employment as many of them fear losing their jobs if they report their employers.
Women's position in the labor market is said to be held hostage by her economic vulnerability; often at
the mercy of the employers. The situation is seen to be worse in informal economy where there is no
formal recourse for violations.88

Indonesia

Sexual violence cases in Indonesia have also kept increasing from an average of 3,000 to up to 6,500 in
the last four years, according to the Komnas Perempuan. 89 Komnas Perempuan’s 2017 report revealed
a total of 13,602 reported cases of violence against women throughout all of 2016, “which averages to
around 37 each day.”90 Almost 50% of these cases are sexual assaults, including rape and harassment. 91

By 2015, based on the number of cases of 321,752, the same as in previous years, the largest type of
violence against women is violence that occurs in the private sphere. While the largest forms of violence
are physical and sexual violence in the form of rape as much as 72% (2,399 cases), in the form of
obscenity as much as 18% (601 cases), and 5% sexual abuse (166 cases). 92

In 2016, the violence that occurred in the personal sphere is still the highest case. Data from
the Religious Courts, 245,548 cases handled by the Religious Courts are violence against wives
that lead to divorce. Of the 13,602 cases admitted from service provider partners, violence in
the personal domain was 75% or 10,205 cases. Data from Komnas Perempuan also shows the
same trend, domestic violence is the most cases reported to Komnas Perempuan 903 cases
(88%) of a total of 1,022 cases. For violence in the household / personal relations, violence
against wife was ranked first 5,784 cases (56%), followed by 2,171 cases of violence (21%),
violence against girls 1,799 cases (17%) and the rest of ex-husbands violence, and violence
against domestic workers. In the household / personal sphere, the highest percentage was
physical violence 42% (4,281 cases), followed by sexual violence 34% (3,495 cases),
psychological violence 14% (1,451 cases) and 10% economic violence (978 cases). For sexual


88
Weaving Women's Voices in Southeast Asia, Regions Refocus, SHAPE-SEA, and Oxfam, Strengthening Women’s
Rights Advocacy in ASEAN: Policy Alternatives for Regional Integration, Governance and Justice" 07 November
2017, Quezon City, Philippines
89
LembarFakta, KekeraanSeksual,
UpayaPenangananKomprehensifdanDoronganRancanganUndnagUndangPenghapusanKekerasanSeksual,
KomnasPerempuan, 19 September 2016; in Indonesia Country Study, p. 17
90
Coconuts Jakarta, "Jakarta has the most cases of violence against women in 2016: Komnas Perempuan," March
8, 2017. https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/jakarta-cases-violence-women-2016-komnas-perempuan/
91
Amanda Siddharta, 2017
92
https://www.komnasperempuan.go.id/siaran-pers-komnas-perempuan-catatan-tahunan-catahu-2016-7-maret-
2016/

24

violence in the domains of domestic /personal violence this year, rape occupies the highest
position of 1,389 cases, followed by obscenity of 1,266 cases. 93

In Indonesia, there are an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 child victims of sexual exploitation throughout
Indonesia and 21,000 of them are thought to be involved in prostitution in Java alone .94Other factors
have contributed to this situation, including poverty and lack of economic opportunities, but also the
weak implementation of child protection actions, particularly at the provincial level; the existence of
sexual tourism of children, especially in Bali and Batam; and the practice of girls who are forced to
engage in prostitution due to debt bondage or marital failure committed at an early age between the
ages of 10 and 14. 95

Trafficking in persons in Indonesia is still the third largest in the world. Police Data in 2011-2013
indicates that there are 509 cases7 of trafficking in persons wherein 213 of the cases are exploitation of
workers and 205 are sexual exploitations. The number of victims is composed of 1,172 persons and 74%
of the victims are women and girls. The data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that trafficking in
persons that occur in the sending of migrant workers is constantly increasing. In 2013, there are 186
cases of trafficking in persons through migration. In 2014, there are 365 cases or it increased to 96%
from the previous year. In 2015, there are 482 cases or it increased to 32% from the previous year. The
data of IOM (International Organization for Migration) in 2014 indicated that 7,193 are victims of
trafficking in persons in Indonesia, 5,898 of the victims are women or 82% of the victims while 1,295 of
the victims are men or 18% of the victims. Only a few of the cases reached court proceedings and very
few of the victims obtained justice, especially the right of the victim to obtain restitution. 96

Due to the nature of the secrecy of human trafficking, and the lack of uniformity in data collection
methods between government agencies and non-governmental organizations, it is difficult to obtain
accurate data on this issue. However, according to 2003 data from the International Labor Organization,
an estimated 100,000 women and children have been trafficked annually in Indonesia. In 2007 alone,
the Indonesian Child Protection Commission noted that there are more than 2000 cases of child
trafficking in Indonesia. Most of these cases occurred in Batam (400 cases), followed by Indramayu,
Sukoharjo and Jakarta. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), child prostitution
takes place in a variety of places including brothels, karaoke bars, massage parlors and malls.

Indonesian women are trafficked for sexual purposes to Malaysia and Singapore and also to Hong Kong.
It is also reported that women from China, Thailand and Eastern Europe are trafficked in Indonesia for
sexual purposes; it is not clear the age limit of the children involved. In 2008, it was reported that a new
trend in trade involved girls (some at all 13 years old) trafficked into illegal logging areas. West
Kalimantan is known as an area where Indonesian women (mainly 13 to 17 years old) are internally
trafficked with promises of employment as servants or helpers, but are subsequently forced to enter
prostitution areas near the gold mine and illegal logging business.97


93
(https://www.komnasperempuan.go.id/lembar-fakta-catatan-tahunan-catahu-komnas-perempuan-tahun-2017-
labirin-kekerasan-terhadap-perempuan-dari-gang-rape-hingga-femicide-alarm-bagi-negara-untuk-bertindak-tepat-
jakarta-7-maret-2017/)
94
(http://www.ilo.org/jakarta/whatwedo/publications/lang--en/ docName- WCM_041799 / index.htm)
95
(http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135992.htm)
96
http://hrwg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/3-Universal-Periodic-Review-INDONESIA-English_FINAL.pdf
97
http://www.ecpat.org/wp-content/uploads/legacy/A4A_V2_EAP_INDONESIA_BAH_FINAL3.pdf

25



Based on data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, from 2013 to early August 2016, there
are 1.328 cases of Indonesian citizens who become victims of trafficking abroad. The number consists of
188 cases in 2013, 326 cases (2014), 548 cases (2015). From 2013 to August 2016, 266 cases have been
handled by representatives of Indonesian embassies abroad. Migrant Care data shows that during May
2015 - May 2016, there were 2,644 Indonesians trapped in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Abu
Dhabi, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait.98

Philippines


In the Philippines, violence against women and girls, including sexual violence continues to rise. While
there is a 9% decrease in the number of cases reported to the Philippine National Police, there remains
an upsurge for cases of sexual violence such as rape which increased to 6.3 percent, acts of
lasciviousness at 8.4 percent, and incestuous rape at 296.9%.

Meanwhile, cases served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), saw a fall with
33.4 percent decline. The year 2015 however show an all-time high, with reported cases rising to 255.2
percent, the highest recorded cases so far.

No. of Cases Reported to Inc. /


2015 2016
PNP Dec. (%)
Total 41,049 40,684 (0.9)
Physical Injuries 25,363 23,775 (6.3)
Rape 1,904 1,897 (0.4)
Acts of Lasciviousness 1,873 2,030 8.4
l/
Threats 5,036 - -
Attempted Rape 645 551 (14.6)
Incestuous Rape 32 127 296.9
Others 11,232 12,304 9.5

Inc. /
No. of Cases Reported to
2014 2015 Dec.
PNP
(%)
Total 49,883 41,049 (17.7)
Physical Injuries 7,727 25,363 228.2
Rape 2,010 1,904 (5.3)
Acts of Lasciviousness 1,871 1,873 0.1
o/
Threats 1,297 5,036 288.3
Attempted Rape 635 645 1.6


98
http://www.benarnews.org/indonesian/berita/trafficking-victims-08242016123928.html.

26

Incestuous Rape 36 32 (11.1)
Others 36,307 11,232 (69.1)

No. of Cases Served by


DSWD 2014 2015 Inc. / Dec. (%)

Total 255.2
150,073 532,998
Physically Abused/ (14.9)
639 544
Maltreated/Battered
Sexually Abused (6.7)
164 153
Involuntary Prostitution 57.4
94 148
Illegal Recruitment (9.1)
121 110
In Detention -- -- --
Armed Conflict 620.0
5 36
p/
Others 101.2
2,886 5,808

No. of Cases Served by


DSWD 2015 2016 Inc. / Dec. (%)

Total (33.4)
531,974 354,435
Physically Abused/ (26.7)
544 399
Maltreated/Battered
Sexually Abused 2.6
153 157
Sexually Exploited 76.8
155 274
Illegal Recruitment 99.1
110 219
In Detention - - --
Armed Conflict (94.4)
36 2
m/
Others (1.9)
4,777 4,688
n/
Uncategorized (33.7)
526,199 348,696

27

6. Country Snapshots: Economic Growth, Poverty, and Gender Equality

6.1. Philippines

Of late, the Philippines has been lauded as the fastest-growing economy in Asia “outperforming other
Asian countries’ economic growth” as it registered 7.1 percent growth in the third quarter of 2016. 99 Yet
as the economy grows, poverty grew higher. The Philippines has the second highest population who are
poor among the ASEAN Member States with 25.2 percent of the population living below poverty,
recorded in the same year by the Asian Development Bank. 100 Filipino families went hungry in the last
three months of 2016, accounting for 3.1 million, with a rate of 13.9 percent, higher from the preceding
quarter and during the same period in 2015, according to Social Weather Stations (SWS) report. 101

According to a 2015 NEDA report which features the latest statistics on poverty in the Philippines, the
country’s poverty incidence declined to 21.6 percent. Among families, poverty incidence was at a
record-low of 16.5 percent in 2015 versus 19.7 percent in 2012 and 21.0 percent in 2006. 102 Meanwhile,
subsistence incidence, which measures extreme poverty, was reduced to 8.1%.103 Although the
numbers were reduced, they still translated to 8.2 million Filipinos who are food poor. And although
poverty incidence declined, it still was not as significant decrease compared to the rapid rise in
economic growth.

Filipino women remain more economically, politically and socially disadvantaged compared to men.
Women continue to lag behind men in work and economic participation, with women’s labor force
participation rate at 49.6 percent in 2016; while men at 76. 9 percent.104 Women with land ownership
agreements only account for 32.7 percent against men’s 67.3 percent.105



Figure. Women’s Participation in Labor and Agriculture

Work and Economic Participation W M


Labor Force Participation Rate (%) 49.3 77.9 October 2016 LFS/PSA
Unemployment Rate (%) 4.3 4.9 October 2016 LFS/PSA
Proportion of Unpaid Family Workers (%) 4.1 6.4 October 2016 LFS/PSA
Proportion of Poor Households by Sex of Household Head (%) 10.4 18.3 2015/PSA
Proportion of Poor Women (%) 25.6 d/ 2012/PSA
Agriculture W M

99 No. of Holders of Emancipation Patent (EP) 57,424 358,281 as of Dec. 2015/DAR
Asian Journal, 2016
100No.of Holders of Cert. of Land Ownership Agreement (CLOA) 653,945 1,342,509 as of Dec. 2015/DAR
ADB, 2016
101
Inquirer, 2017
102
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority
“Poverty Incidence Declines to 21.6 percent for Full Year 2015.” NEDA, October 27, 2016. Retrieved August 20,
2017. http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Poverty-Full-Year-2015-final.jpg
103
Subsistence Incidence is described by the PSA as the proportion of families/indiviuals with per caipta income
less than the per capita Food Threshold to the total number of families/individuals. Food Threshold is the
minimum income required for a family/individual to meet the basic food and non-food requirements, also known
as the Poverty Line. From 2015 Poverty in the Philippines, Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved August 20,
2017. https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015_povstat_FINAL.pdf
104
PSA, 2016
105
PSA, 2016

28

Services to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
Number of Trainees per Activity: 2016
Activity Total Women Men

Product design related 3,462 2,241 1,221

Export related trainings 35,876 20,353 15,523

All other trainings (PTTC) 11,495 7,642 3,853


Total
50,833 30,236 20,597
Business Name Registration: as of December 2016
New Business Name
556,620 297,387 259,233
Business Name Renewal
23,174 9,849 13,325


The Global Gender Gap Index 2017 reports that the country maintains its ranking is the highest
performer in the East Asia and the Pacific region, despite a slight decline in its overall score.106 The
country slipped into three spots lower than the previous year. Philippines’ high global ranking was
attributed to the closing the gap on education, high female literacy, and life expectancies, as well as
women’s economic advancement owing to the highest percentage of firms with female participation in
ownership and managerial positions.107 Interestingly, women are better educated than men in the
Philippines, with higher numbers having attained post-secondary education. 108 Nevertheless, these
studies only look only at the status of women working in the formal sector, and does not account for
issues such as the genderization of labor in the Philippines, as well as women’s rights to financial access,
land rights, and so on. The Philippines’ drop in the ranking was accounted to its “worsening
performance on the wage equality for similar work indicator,” which means that women who do the
same work with men are paid lower than their male counterparts. 109

Protections for marginalized peoples in the Philippines are discussed under the chapter on Reducing
Vulnerability of Individuals and Families, under the Pillar Pagbabago or Reducing Inequality. According
to the Philippine Development Plan, the poverty incidence decreased from 26.3 percent in 2009 to an
estimated 21.6 percent in 2015. The PDP claims that disasters and human-induced shocks such as
typhoon Yolanda, the Bohol earthquake, the Zamboanga siege, etc. are “the most common reasons that
even non-poor individuals fall into poverty and the poor find it hard to move out and stay out of
poverty.”110


106
Global Gender Gap Report 2017. http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2017/results-and-
analysis/
107
Women in the Workforce: An Unmet Potential in Asia and the Pacfic. Asian Development Bank, 2016. Retrieved
September 28, 2017 (35). https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/158480/women-workforce-unmet-
potential.pdf
108
Republic of the Philippines Labor Market Review: Employment and Poverty. World Bank, January 22, 2016 (9).
Retrieved September 28, 2017. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/561291468294345143/pdf/Phl-
Labor-Market-Review-FINAL-Jan22-16.pdf
109
Global Gender Gap Report 2016.
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR16/WEF_Global_Gender_Gap_Report_2016.pdf
110
The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. NEDA. http://pdp.neda.gov.ph/wp-
content/uploads/2017/01/PDP-2017-2022-07-20-2017.pdf

29

Women have the highest poverty incidence in 2012 which was estimated at 25.6 percent.111 According
to the Plan, “Women face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination such as women in poverty,
women with disabilities, indigenous and Muslim women, women living in geographically inaccessible
areas, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women” and they also acknowledge the “unequal power
relationship between men and women” based on societal factors.112 One of the development objectives
of the PDP is to increase the labor participation of women and provide a legal framework in the future
that would promote work-life balance for women’s needs, maternity assistance, and also to address the
gender wage gap, occupational gender segregation, violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.113


6.2. Indonesia

Based on World Bank estimates, Indonesia accounts for 40 percent of ASEAN population and 36 percent
share of total ASEAN GDP in 2015. Indonesia’ GDP has become relatively stable after the 1998 Asian
Financial Crisis. The GDP per capita has steadily risen from 2000 to 2016 and is recognized as one of the
world’s largest economy. It has gained an emerging middle-income country status and has achieved
impressive rates in terms of poverty reduction. (World Bank, 2016)

Analysts say that the AEC could have both positive and disastrous effects on the Indonesian economy
post 2015. Free trade will increase exports but increase in imports will threaten the local economy. The
global financial crisis hardly affected the SME sector in Indonesia compared to banking and
infrastructure sector. Expected huge investments in the SME sector in the coming years will further
boost the economy. (Gunadi, 2016)

Poverty in Indonesia has declined from having 103 million people living in less than $1.9 a day in 1990 to
28 million in 2015. Still, 10.9 percent of employed persons live under the national poverty line. From
2007 to 2011 poverty rate declined by 1 percent annually but it has slowed down since then. The World
Bank approximates that 40 percent of the total population is at risk of falling back into poverty.114

Indonesia scored a value of 0.691 at the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report. According to the report
Indonesia rose from ranking 88th in the previous year to 84th in 2017. 115 World Bank Open Data (2017)
reports that female labor participation rate in Indonesia has been steady for the last 20 years. A closer
look at the sub-indicators of economic participation and opportunity shows that Indonesia does poorly
in terms of achieving income and wage equality between females and males.

A study commissioned by the ADB (Taniguchi, 2014) concluded that gender wage gap in Indonesia exists.
Although workers in the urban areas in Indonesia on average receive higher real wages than workers in
rural areas, men’s real wage is consistently higher than women’s when socioeconomic conditions such
as age, hours worked, educational attainment, work type, industry type and geographical locations are


111
The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. NEDA. 164. http://pdp.neda.gov.ph/wp-
content/uploads/2017/01/PDP-2017-2022-07-20-2017.pdf
112
Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. 164. http://pdp.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/PDP-
2017-2022-07-20-2017.pdf
113
The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. NEDA. 166. http://pdp.neda.gov.ph/wp-
content/uploads/2017/01/PDP-2017-2022-07-20-2017.pdf
114
World Bank Open Data, 2016, http://data.worldbank.org
115
Global Gender Index 2017. http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2017/results-and-analysis/

30

factored in. Further, the study observed that the wage differential is significantly attributed to gender
discrimination and is particularly higher in public sector categories (e.g. education and health services)
compared to industry categories. – make statements clearer/ paraphrase

According to the 2016 Human Development Report 63 percent of Indonesians aged 15 years and older
are employed. Many are employed in services sector, accounting for 44.8 percent and agriculture at
34.3 percent. The same report shows that 5.8 percent of Indonesia’s labour force is unemployed and
that unemployment among the youth aged 15-24 years is at 19.3 percent. (UNDP, 2016)

The female to male unemployment ratio is at 1.2 percent. Labor force participation of females is lower,
at 50.9 percent, compared to labor force participation of males at 83.9 percent (UNDP, 2016) World
Bank Open Data indicates that female labor participation rate has remained relatively steady over the
last 20 years but it has remained below international standard (2016). ADB’s gender analysis on
Indonesia (Hoque, 2015) reports that women tend to be found in low-paying and low-skilled informal
jobs.

Based on data from Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), in February 2017, the average wage of labor both
men and women in all sectors of business field in Indonesia amounted to IDR 2.7 million per month. The
average wage of male labor is higher than the average wage of women labor. Based on the data, the
average wage of women labor in that period. The lowest average wage is in the agricultural sector at IDR
1.75 million per month. Women labor earn wage IDR 1.14 million and men IDR 1.93 million every
month. While in the mining sector, the average wage of labor amounted to IDR 4.42 million. Male labor
are paid IDR 4.51 million and women labor IDR 3.16 million. In the financial sector, the average total
wage is IDR 3.72 million, women labor get IDR 3.64 million and men IDR 3.75 million per month. Average
wage in the transportation sector is IDR 3.26 million, women labor IDR 3.26 million and men IDR 3.75
million per month. Labor in the service sector are IDR 2.93 million per month, where women labor earn
IDR 2.47 million and men IDR 3.41 million per month. The average wage of labor in the construction IDR
2.49 million, industry IDR 2.47 million and trade sectors is IDR 2.18 million per month respectively. For
women labor in these each sectors, they get IDR 2.57 million per month, IDR 2 million, and IDR 1.81
million per month. While for male labor get IDR 2.48 million, IDR 2.74 million, and IDR 2.42 million per
month. 116

Women's representation in the House of Representatives has decreased from 18.2 percent in 2009 to
17.3 percent in 2014. In fact, women candidates who running for political party voters increased from
33.6 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2014. In 2014 Legislative Election, it was only able to produce
women representation in the legislature as much as 97 seats (17.32 percent) in the House of
Representatives, 35 seats (26.51 percent) in the Regional Representative Council and average of 16.14
percent in the House of Representatives and 14 percent in the House of Representatives at the district /
city level. 117

An examination of women’s economic status in Indonesia presents a mixed picture. A growing number
of women have been joining the workforce. Yet, female labor participation is still often considered
socially and culturally acceptable as long as it does not interfere with women’s primary role as wives and
mothers.The unemployment rate in Indonesia has continued to fall, reaching 6.3% in 2014. Still, the

116
(http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2012/09/23/15024475/bias.gender.dalam.kredit.perbankan)
117
(http://www.beritasatu.com/nasional/210327-kuota-30-keterwakilan-perempuan-di-parlemen-gagal-
tercapai.html)

31

unemployment rate for women is higher (8.76%) compared to males (7.51%).Also,female labor force
participation rate is still very low and just about 53.4%, compared to 85% for male. Female-male
participation gaps are substantial even among women who do not have children, and the gaps widen
with age. In rural and urban areas, women with young children are substantially less likely to participate
in the labor market. When they do work, women are more likely to be found in low-paying, low-skilled
occupations and in the informal sector where worker protections and benefits are weak. In particular,
women whose husbands are self-employed are significantly more likely to be unpaid workers than those
whose husbands are wage employees. Women dominate in informal sector employment and have much
lower salaries than men. For example, the 2012 Sakernas indicated that women are 57,51 % of informal
workers in Indonesia, and Sakernas 2010 data showed 72.32% of unpaid workers above 15 years old are
females. Meanwhile, the EAP report 2012 indicated that gender earnings gaps are more pronounced
than in the formal sector. Average annual female earnings (in US$) are 2,288 versus 4,434 for men. The
latest BPS data showed that in 2011 the average male wage is IDR 1,649,472 while female’s is iDR
1,275,653, and for the last five years (2007-2011) female earnings only slightly increased compared to
male’s wage increase.A study on six countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines,
Thailand, and Vietnam) indicated that Indonesia has the widest earnings gap among the six countries
examined, and the study found substantial hetero geneity between rural and urban areas, both in terms
of the size of the gap and the factors contributing to it. 118


7. The “Gender Gap” in ASEAN: Examining Women’s Issues in AEC’s Trade,
Agriculture and MSMEs Plans

The study adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) or the Women’s Convention, as the lens in examining women’s issues in the AEC, particularly
in the select targets: trade, agriculture and MSMEs.

The CEDAW framework puts gender at the heart of equality. It serves as the overarching framework that
underpins norms and standards for equality with gender at the center. It presupposes that there can be
no equality without social transformation and system for structural change. Social transformation, in
turn, must be able to alter power and gender relations, dominant systems and structures that maintain
inequality and inequities, between, among and within genders and marginalized groups. At the heart of
the Convention is transformative equality – requiring that systems, structures, relations, including
cultures should be transformed to pave the way for equality. It defines equality as substantive equality
or transformative equality which translates to de facto – or in reality – equality that is felt by women,
especially marginalized women.119

The CEDAW, similarly with widely accepted international standards, have established the state
obligation to respect, promote, and fulfill women’s rights. The CEDAW Committee highlights the
relationship between gender and economic development, which is manifest in the impact of economic


118
(http://www.mca-indonesia.go.id/assets/uploads/media/pdf/Updated-Indonesia-SGIP-July-2016.pdf)
119
The study developed a framework for analysis entitled, “CEDAW Transformative Equality: Realizing Women’s
Economic Rights in the AEC.” The following are the elements of the framework: (a) equality is not androcentric, (b)
challenges traditional definitions of equality, (c) discrimination as an act that violates the principle of equality, (d)
transformative equality that brings about social transformation and social change; and (e) intersectionality:
attention to marginalized groups of women. The framework is elaborated in Annex 1.

32

crisis and structural adjustment programs on women. 120 It maintains that economic growth and
development may not benefit women as much as men.121 The States have been requested to ensure
that all poverty alleviation programs fully benefit women122and enhance “monitoring of the impact of
economic development and changes on women and to take proactive and corrective measures,
including increasing social spending, so that women can fully and equally benefit from growth and
poverty reduction. The Committee also has expressed concern about women's poverty and social
exclusion,123 which have been exacerbated by the global downturn from 2008.124

The Committee has earlier underlined that there is an “urgent need to ensure that globalisation, policies
and plans of action that facilitate international trade and the transition to market economic policies are
gender-sensitive and improve the quality of life of women”; and that “[i]f sustainable development is to
realise economic, social and environmental goals, women's needs and concerns must be given equal
priority with those of men.125

The CEDAW General Recommendation no. 34 (GR 34) on Rural Women emphasizes that the
macroeconomic roots of gender inequality must be taken into account in addressing discrimination
against rural women, which similarly applies to women in general. GR 34 noted that, “[s]tates often fail
to acknowledge the role of rural women and girls in unpaid work, their contribution to the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP), and, therefore, to sustainable development.”126 The Committee reiterates that
“[b]ilateral and multilateral agreements on trade, tax and other economic and fiscal policies can have a
significant negative impact on the lives of rural women.” 127

There are detrimental impacts of environmental issues, including climate change and natural disasters,
often provoked by unsustainable use of natural resources, as well as poor waste management practices,
on the wellbeing of rural women. 128 Existing inequalities remain and are strengthened and upheld by
gender-neutral policies, reforms and laws.

In the CEDAW Concluding Observations to Indonesia and Philippines, the Committee called on the
governments to give due attention to the issues of women in relation to economic policies. For the
recent Concluding Observations for the Philippines, the Committee expressed its concern with regards
land appropriation and resulting displacement due to extractive industries, development projects and
disasters continue to affect rural women disproportionately.129 The previous Concluding Observations
stressed the issue on the possible adverse impact that trade liberalization may have on the living and


120
CEDAW, Concluding Observation: Trinidad and Tobago, 2002, Frances Raday, 2012, 526
121
CEDAW, Concluding Observation: China, 2006, Frances Raday, 2012, 526
122
CEDAW, Concluding Observation: Belarus, 2000, Frances Raday, 2012, 526
123
Evat, 2007, Frances Raday, 2012, 526
124
Decision 43/II, Statement by the CEDAW Committee, 2008, Frances Raday, 2012, 526
125
CEDAW, “Gender and sustainable development,” 2002, Frances Raday, 2012, 525
126
CEDAW GR 34
127
CEDAW GR 34
128
CEDAW GR 34
129
Philippine CEDAW Concluding Observations, 2016.
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fPHL%2fCO%
2f7-8&Lang=en

33

working conditions of Filipino women, especially in rural areas.130 There remains high unemployment
rate among women and the gender wage gap; and an overrepresentation of women in the informal
economy, which negatively affects their eligibility for social security and health care. 131 The Philippine
government is called upon to evaluate the impact of the free trade agreements on the socio-economic
conditions of women and to address the high unemployment rate of women by creating new
sustainable employment opportunities for those affected. 132

7.1. Androcentric Bias and Formal Equality: Locating Gender in the AEC Blueprint

The term “androcentric” or “androcentric bias” as illustrated in an earlier work by Patricia Maguire133
reveals the “the ways in which man and his power, problems, perspectives, and experiences have been
at the center… while woman has been relegated to the periphery.134” Below are the indicators of
androcentric bias, as adopted from Maguire’s work:

1. Male-centered language - for example, the use of generic
language for people, which makes it difficult to distinguish
men and women's presence and experience in particular
projects.
2. Women's unequal access to project participation - for
example, the use of problem-posing forums or formats
which exclude or marginalize women, such as community
councils or meetings in which women have an unequal
voice.
3. Inadequate attention to obstacles to women's participation
in projects –for example, acknowledgement of machismo as
an obstacle to women's project participation, but lack of
action to solve the problem.135

As Maguire found in her study, there are implications concerning language, project access, and benefits.
Even “inclusive” language would tend to subsume and conceal visibility of women. Like Maguire
observes, inclusive terms such as the peasants or the villagers, “male becomes equated with people.”
Without specifically mentioning or targeting women, it in turn “easily masks women's participation, or
lack of it.” “Because of this invisibility, it is difficult to determine how, if at all… benefits accrue to
women community members.”136


130
Philippine CEDAW Concluding Observations, 2006.
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW%2fC%2fPHI%2fCO%2
f6&Lang=en
131
Philippine CEDAW Concluding Observations, 2006
132
Philippine CEDAW Concluding Observations, 2006

133
Patricia Maguire,"Doing Participatory Research: A Feminist Approach." 1987. Participatory Research & Practice.
Paper 1.Accessible at http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cie_participatoryresearchpractice/1
134
Ibid; emphasis in original.
135
Ibid, p. 53
136
Ibid, p. 57

34


Formal Equality is manifest in ways that treat men and women the same. Formal equality as a
“traditional approach fails to address the systemic and social factors preventing equality.” 137 It simply
provides the same or identical opportunities to men and women, but does not eliminate and address
the obstacles for women to be able to access and enjoy these opportunities. It ignores the differences
between men and women; and the distinct needs of women. This approach “often ignores other
obligations that society places on women and not men, such as childcare and household duties that
prevent women from committing additional time to their career.”138

The protectionist approach may recognize the differences; yet with the aim to “protect” women, may in
the process “curtail or curb women's activities or freedoms.” Further, it does not “challenge gender
discrimination, but reproduce it in the guise of protecting women.”

For example, women may be prohibited from working at night because
it is not seen as safe for them to be out late at night. Pregnant women
may be prohibited from working in shops with slippery floors, in case
they fall. The protectionist approach prevents us from questioning why
it is not safe for women to be out at night, and working to create a
society free from violence. It also does not encourage us to eliminate
workplace hazards so that pregnant and non-pregnant workers can be
protected from the dangers of slippery floors. 139

The protectionist approach is seen in laws and policies that prevent women from taking part in work or
activities seen as “harmful” or “unfit” to them, not challenging the patriarchal notions why a particular
activity is dangerous or not fit for women, or examining how this danger can be removed so that women
can fully participate in society.140


137
UN Women, "The Principles of CEDAW". Accessible at http://www.unwomen-
eseasia.org/projects/Cedaw/principlescedaw.html; emphasis supplied

138
UN Women
139
UN Women
140
UN WOMEN.“The Principles of CEDAW.”UN Women East and Southeast Asia Region UN Entity for Gender
Equality and Empowerment of Women.Accessed June 5, 2016. http://www.unwomen-
eseasia.org/projects/Cedaw/principlescedaw.html

35



In the ASEAN Economic Community Vision 2025, gender is only explicitly mentioned in the initiative to
strengthen the science, technology and innovation sectors (C.9.) as well as strengthening the role of
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (D.1). Most mainstream literature discussing the AEC Blueprint
2025 do not explicitly mention women’s rights or human rights.

Asian developmental capitalism has resulted in a “neo-patriarchal” approach to bringing women into the
economy without a concern with the gendered assumptions behind that inclusion. In the ASEAN Vision
2020 and succeeding action programmes, for example, women were referred to in the contexts of both
creating “caring societies” and ensuring the resilience of the family as the “basic unit” of society.
Women’s issues were housed as socio-cultural, not political in nature, as women were framed not only
separate from political concerns but fundamentally apolitical.

The AEC Blueprint uses generalized, male-centered language and mainly promotes formal equality by
providing access only to “skilled workers and professionals”. This in effect excludes women, majority of
whom occupy low-skilled work in ASEAN. AEC also does not address economic barriers faced by ASEAN
women migrants compared to male migrants. Women migrants often face issues of gender-based
discrimination, sexual violence, denial of sexual and reproductive rights, among others. ASEAN also does
not respond to the structural obstacles faced by marginalized women who desire access and
participation to the ASEAN formal economy.

Based on the review of the literature, the AEC targets are specially formed to cater to ASEAN’s business
elite, while concepts of substantive equality and addressing marginalized people’s rights are relegated
to the ASCC. The “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community” report concludes that
women continue to have limited and poor quality participation in the ASEAN economic community. One
cause is that ASEAN economies are under-utilizing their skilled female workers—as an emphasis, they
point out that women constitute half the total population of ASEAN—hence they are unable to reach
their full potential.141

Women are systematically under-represented in the workforce because of long work hours; the issue of
unpaid and unrecognized domestic work is crucial to ASEAN economies. In ASEAN countries, women’s
educational attainment and women’s share in highly skilled managerial positions continue to remain
low, proving that there are deeper social, cultural, religious and institutional biases that are curbing
women’s economic participation.142 And even if there are no constitutional restrictions towards women,
such as in countries like Laos and Cambodia, women are still intensively employed in extremely difficult
and low paying jobs without access to social protections and education. They say that the Philippines
and Indonesia are better off because of the strong presence of civil rights groups. The report raises an
interesting point: The AEC will create more jobs, but are the jobs really the ones that women would like
to do?143

The major challenges to the implementation of CEDAW is due to current dissonance between
traditionalist religious edict or cultural practice and neo-liberal ethics on one hand, and human rights
standards, on the other. The reservations to CEDAW provisions in many countries are concentrated in

141
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 141.
142
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 142.
143
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 143.

36

the traditionalist religious arena (ex: Sharia Law and other religious laws) that denies women’s
entitlement to the private and public sphere and presents a “culture crash” in which many practices
defended in the name of culture impinge on women’s rights, such as infanticide, female genital
mutilation, child brides, forced marriage, violence, stereotypical and restrictive gender roles, and so on.
Instead, women’s issues is “solved” by “protecting” them or confining women to the domestic sphere,
rather than confronting and getting rid of systemic patriarchal attitudes.

7.2. Trade as Gender-Blind: Scarcity of Gender Considerations in Trade



The scarcity of gender considerations in Southeast Asia’s trade policymaking literature is attributed to
the way that Southeast Asian trade policy remains within the realm of economic elites; international
trade is still perceived as predominantly an issue of concern to economic actors; and the weak
dissemination of trade policies make these deliberations inaccessible to Southeast Asian women,
especially marginalized women.144

It is observed that the Trade commitments and targets of the AEC Blueprint looks to inclusivity and
rights simply as access to employment for skilled and educated workers, lacking any insight on economic
disparities between men and women and actively excludes the participation of marginalized women in
the service liberalization agenda.

AEC’s Trade in services is guided by the twin agreements, the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services
(AFAS) and the ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons (AMNP). Both “strongly
resonate with the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS) ‘Mode-4 ‘ on Movement of Natural
Persons characterized by temporary entry or stay of natural persons and restricted only to sectors
engaged in business, skilled and professional work. “145 Reinforcing GATS, AEC limits recognition of
services, and consequently, workers in ASEAN.

To date, only trade, business-related and high-skilled professionals are recognized in ASEAN. With
ASEAN’s Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs), there are only eight professions whose
qualifications are mutually recognized, and are granted privileges thereto across ASEAN, as follows:
engineering services, nursing services, architecture, land surveying, medical practice, dental practice,
accountancy, and tourism.146

Gender only figures in Trade through employment and labor opportunities; other than this, gender
rights are not mentioned further. The AEC targets envisions free flow of movement and goods within
ASEAN through service liberalization agenda and enhanced connectivity. This in turn, is expected to
provide access to jobs and the market for people, specifically skilled labor and business visitors in the
formal economy.

Most businesses and industries capitalize on women’s productive work which is considered cheap labor
(e.g. in electronics, garments, etc.). However, without women’s reproductive or care work attending to
the needs of households, both the labor and private sector will not be able to produce and earn profits.


144
Dharma, “Beyond Barriers”, 8.
145
WLB, 2015, 24
146
Ibid.

37

Across all sectors women’s economic roles are the ones that involve lower skills and on average, lower
pay.147While the gap has shrunk, female labour force participation rate is persistently lower than men
across all ASEAN member states; the high gender wage gap persists because more women are employed
in lower skilled and lower paying jobs than men, and this is true even in high income countries like
Singapore; and majority of women in vulnerable employment with limited access to benefits and social
protection and are also more likely to be an unpaid contributing family worker which provides least
opportunities for decent work.148

Many women have been employed with the rise of the manufacturing sector in the region, especially in
labour-intensive sectors such as garments and electronics. While jobs may have increased for women,
there were reports of female workers experiencing sexual harassment from their male coworkers, pay
cuts, dangerous working environments and lower wages compared to male workers.149 The services
sector accounts for 40 to 50 percent of the total GDP of many ASEAN countries—however, the overall
approach towards service sector liberalization within the frameworks of GATTS and FTAs have
disproportionately negative impacts on women, especially with the liberalization of healthcare, tourism,
and entertainment industries, especially with gender stereotyping—women tend to predominate as the
majority of the workforce in the menial, semiskilled, domestic, and service-type occupations. There are
concerns on cases of sex tourism, human trafficking, and the mistreatment of female domestic workers
and migrants in the services sector.150

Moreover, while overall trade in expanding both intra-ASEAN and extra-ASEAN, the value of women’s
share of exports has remained more or less constant, meaning that existing gender gaps would not
improve women’s conditions.151

In Trade, particularly trade in services, violations against women’s rights are committed throughout the
migration cycle in labor-sending and -receiving countries in the region. Among them are: restrictions on
women’s right to work and mobility, the phenomenon of feminization of migration where women’s
work is undervalued; lack of social protection for women, violations against women migrant’s sexual and
reproductive health rights, trafficking in women and girls, and barriers to women’s access to justice in
violence against women (VAW) and economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) violations.152


Philippines

Other than sex segregation in types of work and low employment rates for women compared to men,
there also remains a gender wage gap in the Philippines. While the gender wage gap based upon the
daily wage rate shows a slight wage advantage for women in the Philippines, once human capital gender
differences are taken into account, women have lower wages than men. As mentioned, the incidence of
low-pay is significantly higher among women than men, with over 37 percent compared to 27 percent of


147
Ibid.
148
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 16.
149
Ibid 11-12.
150
Chandra, “Beyond Barriers”, 14-15.
151
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 15.
152
WLB 2015

38

men. They attribute these statistics to the fact that women are likely employed in low wage industries
such as the sales and service sector, which they comprise for almost 80 percent. 153 Young women not in
employment or education are also higher (31 percent). 154

Table: Women earn less than men in the majority of East Asian and Pacific
countries and in all sectors of the economy from 2008-2009155

Later statistics show that the gender wage gap depending on the industry:

Gender Wage Gap by Major Occupation Group in the Philippines

Gender Wage Gap by Major Occupation Group in the Philippines

Major Occupation Group 2016

Officials of Government and Special-Interest -3.3.


Organizations, Corporate Executives, Managers,
Managing Proprietors and Supervisors


153
Republic of the Philippines Labor Market Review: Employment and Poverty. World Bank, January 22, 2016 (39).
Retrieved September 28, 2017. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/561291468294345143/pdf/Phl-
Labor-Market-Review-FINAL-Jan22-16.pdf
154
Ibid 35.
155
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/Resources/226300-1339798342386/eap-gender-full-
conference.pdf

39

Professionals 8.5

Technicians and Associate Professionals 11.3

Clerks 3.7

Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales 30.8


Workers

Farmers, Forestry Workers, and Fishermen -19.6

Trades and Related Workers 27.5

Plant & Plant Machine Operators and Assemblers 6

Laborers and Unskilled Workers 26.5

Special Occupations 5.7

TOTAL -5.4

Source: Rappler (Decent Work Statistics Online Database, Philippine Statistics Authority

The World Bank reports that while incidence of low-pay is substantially higher among women (35%)
than among men (27%), women are significantly more likely to be in the top salary bracket (13% of
women and only 7% of men earn top salaries) as also seen in the survey by the PSA. Hence, while men
tend to earn the middle of the wage distribution, women occupy its bottom and upper tail.156

Still, this means that despite the fact that educated Filipino women have the privilege of higher pay and
quality of work, the success rate for formal gender equality does not translate to the women in the
marginalized sector. Indeed, Albert and Vizmanos from PIDS write that “while the gender pay gap seems
to favor women in the Philippines, averages mask disparities between the sexes in pay differentials
among various occupational groups.”157 They also report that while high positions favor women with
women gaining bigger share than men, for some occupations, particularly technicians and associate
professionals, service workers, clerks, market sales, etc. men are far better compensated despite
women having more employment shares in these industries.158

Moreover, the reasons why there are a few Filipino women employed and why some occupations and
sectors are dominated by one sex must also be examined. Indeed, Filipino women are mostly based in


156
Republic of the Philippines Labor Market Review, 54.
157
Jose Ramon G. Albert and Jana Flor Vizmanos. “Closing the gender gap in economic opportunities.” Rappler.com
February 2, 2017. https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/134739-gender-equality-economic-opportunities-
philippines
158
Ibid.

40

the services sector—and oftentimes their roles are genderized into household work. The October 2013
Labor force Survey states that four in every five (78.4%) of the female wage and salary workers were
working in the services sector. Those in the industry sector only comprised 13.% compared to men
comprising 28.2%, while those in the agricultural sector women comprised merely 8.7% compared to
22.1% for male workers.159

Based on ILO’s estimates on Southeast Asian Women and Labor, domestic workers (employees
providing services for private households, such as househelp), on average, work longer hours than the
national averages. In the Philippines domestic workers work 52 hours; the montly minimum wage is
one-fifth of workers in the non-agricultural sector in the national capital region.160

Additionally, it is expected that women will perform majority of unpaid housework and unpaid
carework, also because their work is undervalued.161

Even in the realm of formal long-term care (LTC), the formal LTC workplace is still largely composed of
women, with lower-skilled elderly care provided by migrant workers from the Philippines in other
European countries such as England. 162

As for women working in the informal sector, according to the Informal Sector Survey in 2008, survey,
67.8 percent of women workers in the non-agricultural employment are in the informal sector, and 70.2
percent of women are into informal employment in both informal and formal sectors.163 For domestic
work, around 79.3 percent are women. 164 Women contribute substantially to economic welfare through
large amounts of unpaid work, such as child-rearing and household tasks, but domestic work continues
to remain unseen and unaccounted for in national income; and finally a lack of clarity in key labour laws
relating to equal pay, discrimination and maternity benefits contribute to gender inequality in the labour
market.165

Based on the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Philippines is a source country and a destination
and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The
report states that “an estimated 10 million Filipinos are OFWs, and a significant number of these

159
Gender Fact Sheet. Philippine Statistics Authority – Gender and Development Committee (GCOM). March 2014
(2). https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/attachments/hsd/article/Gender%20Factsheet%20-
%20Wage%20and%20Salary%20Workers%20in%20the%20Philippines%2C%20October%202013_1.pdf
160
Women at Work: Trends 2016. International Labour Office, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2017. (56, 63)
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---
publ/documents/publication/wcms_457317.pdf
161
Women at Work: Trends 2016. International Labour Office, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2017. (67, 76)
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---
publ/documents/publication/wcms_457317.pdf
162
Women at Work: Trends 2016. International Labour Office, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2017. (77)
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---
publ/documents/publication/wcms_457317.pdf
163 nd
Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, 2 Edition. International Labour Office, 2013.
Retrieved September 28, 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---
stat/documents/publication/wcms_234413.pdf
164
Ibid.
165
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 17-18.

41

migrant workers are subjected to sex and labor trafficking, predominantly via debt bondage—in the
fishing, shipping, construction, education, home health care, and agricultural industries, as well as in
domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-related jobs, particularly across the Middle East,
Asia, and North America.”166

There are no reliable statistics on trafficking in the Philippines because of its illicit nature; however,
according to the Global Slavery Index of 2016, the Philippines has an estimated number of 401,000 in
modern slavery conditions, the majority being in forced labor as Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).167 In
the same report, roughly 69% are said to be exploitation in the domestic labour sector overseas or
within the Philippines, and most of those employed in domestic labour are women.


Indonesia

Wage discrimination practices and wage gap disparities are still encountered in various sectors of
Indonesia, this inequality can be seen in gender-based division of labor throughout Indonesia. The
garment sector is one of the sectors considered to be "women's work" so it absorbs many women
workers. Not a few garment workers choose to work part-time for family reasons, where part-time jobs
are usually paid less and have no chance to get promoted. This difference in employment contributes to
the wage gap in which women generally do not get equal opportunities and wages compared to men.
(https://gajimu.com/garmen/home/hak-pekerja-garmen/perlakuan-adil-garmen)

Data analysis of the National Labor Survey (Sakernas) in 2012 indicates, there are about 2,555,000
domestic workers aged 15 years and over who working as domestic worker in Indonesia and 1.7 million
including working on the island of Java (Technical Report: the Estimation of Total Domestic Workers in
Indonesia,ILO, 2013). Meanwhile, Indonesian citizens who working abroad (migrant workers) in 2006 -
2012 was recorded at 3.9 million. Most are women, working in the informal sector (BNP2TKI, 2012),it is
estimated that working as domestic workers reach more from 80% (ILO, 2012; World Bank, 2008).
Approximately 75% of domestic workers in Indonesia are women and mostly from rural areas and
generally low-educated. Although according to the Regulations that exist in Indonesia children under 18
should not be employed as domestic workers, at least 25% of Domestic workers in Indonesia are
estimated to be 18 years of age. Currently in Indonesia there is no rule of law which protect the rights of
domestic workers as workers like certainty about the limits of working hours, holidays, wages minimum
and working conditions, etc. Data analysis from Sakernas in 2012 shows that the proportion Domestic
workers who work more than 40 hours a week away more than workers in general however the average
income of domestic workers is far below average earnings of workers in general (ILO, 2013).
Data analysis from Sakernas shows that 63% of domestic workers work 7 days a week indicating that
there is no weekly holiday for them. The majority of domestic workers do not have clear labor contracts,
both oral and written, with the employer regarding work that becomes his obligation, working hours,
days weekly holidays and wages to be received almost no domestic workers in Indonesia are getting
social protection insurance (health insurance and work accident). Household work is done inside
private home so that working conditions and treatment to domestic workers hidden from public view


166
Trafficking in Persons Report 2017. Accessed September 28, 2017.
https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271344.pdf
167
Global Slavery Index 2016, Philippines. Accessed September 28, 2017.
https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/country/philippines/

42

and therefore put the domestic worker on the condition that very vulnerable to the possibility of various
actions violence. Some domestic workers in Indonesia are also victims of trafficking and trapping debt.
This happens when workers are forced work in a particular house to pay the debt. IOM Survey
(International Migration Organization) against victims of trafficking human in Indonesia in 2006 found
that 29% were victims traded for homework stairs.

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@asia/@ro-bangkok/@ilo
jakarta/documents/publication/wcms_349661.pdf

7.3. Food and Agriculture




Poverty alleviation and gender mainstreaming are mentioned in the Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF)
Action Plan in the AEC Blueprint 2025. It states that ASEAN aims to achieve an inclusive, harmonious and
sustainable society that addresses socio-economic disparities and poverty, ensures gender equality,
narrows regional socio-economic disparities and bridges the development gap between member states.
Based on the plan, gender equality and poverty alleviation can be achieved through the generation of
new, sustainable technologies that enhance resource use efficiency and ensure increased production
with equitable distribution.168

Gender issues are related with climate change and disaster prevention plans: under the fourth Strategic
Thrust on resilience to climate change: one of the Action Programmes is to integrate gender issues into
climate friendly agriculture, fishery and forestry practices to reduce the higher vulnerability of women to
the social and economic impact of natural disasters and climate change.169 However, the plan does not
indicate concrete details on how they will implement a gender rights approach through the Action
Programme on climate change resilience. There is no mention if there will be consultations with women
in disaster-prone or vulnerable communities, civil society organizations, etc. especially in preventing
climate change risks.

Further, there is no mention of women’s roles and participation, as well as the impact of FAF
liberalization under a single market and production base to Southeast Asian women. Instead,
sustainability, agricultural productivity, and ensuring food security are seen to empower ASEAN peoples.
However, as mentioned in the literature review, there is a lack of assurance and concrete plans on how
to implement environmental and livelihood security, and does not address the long-standing problem of
development aggression and on Southeast Asian women. In the ASEAN Food Security (AIFS) Framework
and Strategic Action Plan on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS) 2015-2020, which seeks to
ensure long term food security and improve the livelihood of farmers in ASEAN, women’s rights and
participation in the food and agriculture sector are not included.170


168
Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in FAF (2016-2025), 6.
169
Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in FAF (2016-2025), 14.
170
ASEAN Food Security (AIFS) Framework and Strategic Action Plan on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS)
2015-2020
http://www.asean.org/storage/images/Community/AEC/AMAF/OtherDocuments/AIFS%20FRAMEWORK%20SPA%
20(2015-2020-Endorsed).pdf

43

The plan does not provide sufficient basis to address the are constraints to women in the food,
agriculture, and forestry sector such as lack of access to productive resources (e.g. land, credit, and
inputs), education, rights, and services.171 Issues such as land-grabbing, poverty, environmental
degradation, and human rights violations in the FAF sector that negatively impact Southeast Asian
women are not indicated in the Action Plan. Traditional gender restrictions have made rural women the
primary food producers and workers in agriculture while also managing the family, without owning their
own lands and earning enough wages to support themselves. Further, it has been found that within
ASEAN states, women are disadvantaged in acquiring land and assets by a lack of access to information
and discriminatory laws.172

Trade liberalization in the agricultural sector has led to further disparities between male and female
workers in this sector. Control over traded agricultural commodities generally goes to men instead of
women and technological advancements have displaced women from their traditional roles in
agricultural production, making them retreat to housework or migrant work.173

Congruent with AEC policies, the directions and economic policies, particularly in relation to the removal
of tariffs cause harms in local economies are gravely affecting grassroots women producers. This in turn,
forms part of the “push” factors for women to find opportunities elsewhere.

Rural women, often deprived of basic education and highly subject to
patriarchal beliefs, are among those often drawn to domestic work
abroad, which requires no “professional” skill. In turn, pull factors in
the form for instance, of high demand for female domestic worker…
interact with push factors in the home countries, and further spur the
migration trend. States exploit these (5) pull actors, as part of their
drive for growth, albeit growth without employment creation, but
consumption-led due to migrant workers’ remittances.174


In the FAF, there is a lack of a gender-based perspective despite the fact that Southeast Asian women,
particularly indigenous and rural women, play an important role in food production and food security.

Indonesian law contains a number of protections of women’s right to land. Article 28H(2) of the
Indonesian Constitution provides that every person should be facilitated and receive special
treatment to have the same opportunities and benefits to achieve equality and fairness. Article
28I(2), meanwhile, states that Every person shall have the right to be free from discriminative
treatment based upon any grounds whatsoever and shall have the right to protection from such
discriminative treatment. Article 4(f) of People’s Consultative Assembly Decree No.
IX/MPR/2001 on Agrarian Reform and Management of Natural Resources also states that
agrarian reform should be based on gender equality in the control, ownership, use, exploitation


171
Gender Equality and Food Security: Women’s Empowerment as a Tool Against Hunger. Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Asian Development Bank (ADB.) (2013) 2.
http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/ar259e/ar259e.pdf
172
Jha and Saxena, “Projected Gender Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community”, 17.
173
Chandra, “Beyond Barriers”, 13-14.
174
Brunei Council on Social Welfare. Compliance with Women’s Rights Standards

44

and restoration of natural and agrarian resources. In addition to these provisions, women’s
right to land is also described in the 1960 Agrarian Law, Law No. 7 of 1984 on the Ratification of
CEDAW, Law No. 6 of 2014 on Villages, and Presidential Instruction No. 9 of 2000 on Gender
Mainstreaming in National Development. But despite these protections, women are still
marginalised and discriminated against in terms of their rights to land, ownership of property
and economic assets, as well as access to and control over decision making processes, and
income. This results in significant inequality between women and men. Women’s productive
work is not recognised as real work, or only supplementary to the work of the male members of
the household. There is no gender disaggregated data on ownership and control of land in
Indonesia. However, a number of case studies have indicated that ownership is highly unequal.
In Barati village, Poso district, Central Sulawesi, 90 per cent of land is owned by men.
Meanwhile, in Seri Bandung village, Ogan Ilir district, South Sumatra, men hold 84.3 per cent of
land use documents. Women feel the effects of forced evictions and land seizures particularly
acutely. Loss of access and control of communities over the land that is a source of livelihood
has major impacts on household needs. This can affect women in particular because they are
often responsible for ensuring that there is enough food for the family every day. When they
can no longer grow or collect food, household expenditures increase. The intimidation, violence
and criminalisation at the hands of security forces that often occurs in agrarian conflict also
affects women and men in different ways. In Ogan Ilir, South Sumatera, for example, when
their husbands have been detained by police (or are in hiding to avoid criminalisation), women
have often had to become family protectors. Women also face intimidation, and describe being
frightened about leaving their homes over the threat of violence or detention. In addition to
this, they are responsible for taking care of their children, dealing with the trauma of witnessing
conflict and making sure that they feel safe. (http://hrwg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9-UPR-
shadow_report_CSO_enviromental_ind.pdf)

7.4. Micro and Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)



The AEC Blueprint attempts to enhance Equitable Economic Development and promote a “Resilient,
Inclusive, People-Oriented and People-Centred ASEAN” by strengthening the role of MSMEs. MSMEs in
ASEAN are encouraged to internationalise and participate in the global market.

The only concrete measure of the AEC to promote entrepreneurship for youth and women and enhance
human capital is through the ASEAN On-line Academy. However, addressing women’s participation is
merely limited to access to online courses and education on finance, marketing and trade. This measure
does not specifically address women’s unequal access and obstacles to participation, business
ownership, and self-sufficiency in the MSME sector.

Enhancing women’s participation in the MSME sector is described as empowering MSME owners and
providing employment, but the Blueprint does not look at other challenges such as gender
discrimination and poverty that prevent other marginalized women from starting their own businesses,
or ensure their own labor rights as workers in the MSME sector. How women workers from the informal
economy can participate in the formal economy are also not addressed.

45


Overall, the AEC Blueprint only explicitly states providing for women in the section on MSMEs, through
online education on business practices as a way to increase the economic participation of women in the
AEC. In the section on“Narrowing the Development Gap”, the AEC Blueprint’s proposed solutions are to
build business opportunities by reducing burden on business regulations, enhance competitiveness of
rural economies, etc. to make sectors effectively participate in the global value chain. Integration with
the global market is the end goal of the AEC Blueprint 2025, assuming that economic growth and
success in the business sector is the most desired outcome for integration. All government initiatives in
the Philippines, in following the AEC model, therefore also only looks at women’s full participation in the
ASEAN economy through the MSME sector (ie. DTI’s Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy) and as
skilled, professional migrants.

While existing ASEAN women’s rights documents have been crafted to include declarations on
intersectional issues, it has been argued throughout the years that tthese Declarations and documents
etc. have failed to articulate women’s economic rights in actual measurable plans, legislation, policies
and programs in all areas and at all levels.175 This has been attributed by Davies to ASEAN’s aversion to
institutionalization, a diplomatic culture that shies away from public disagreement, and a presumptive
deference towards the principle of non-intervention (…) important, given that human rights, with their
focus on the relationship between citizens and their governments, are directly related to domestic
politics.”176 The major weakness of all these regional instruments is their non-binding element which
would not translate to practice within member-states—again another manifestation of the ASEAN
principle of non-interference.177 Hence, implementing women’s programs in ASEAN such as economic
and political participation, migration, discriminatory laws, and violence against women in MSMEs are
left mostly to the states.


In ASEAN, a study by ADB states that women’s MSMEs are growing moderately faster than male-owned
MSMEs, as seen below:

Average Annual Growth of Male and Female SMEs in Selected Countries (%)

Country and Year Female Male

Indonesia (2007) 8.1 (0.27)

Malaysia (2008) 9.7 7.43

Philippines (2007) 2.5 …

Singapore (2009) 4.2 …


175
From the definition of gender mainstreaming by ECOSOC. “…the process of assessing the implications for
women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels.”
Gender Mainstreaming: An Overview. United Nations, 2002.
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/e65237.pdf
176
“An Agreement to Disagree: The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Absence of Regional
177
Al-Gozaly, Mahmudin Nur. “Whither women’s rights in ASEAN?” The Jakarta Post, December 4, 2012. Accessed
March 30, 2016. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/12/04/whither-women-s-rights-asean.html

46

Thailand (2008) 2.3 0.31

Vietnam (2004) 42.5 40.93


DTI declared that around 63 percent of managers or business owners in the Philippines are women, and
that 54 percent of these were female-owned MSMEs. However, the enterprises were small, consisting of
only the owner/manager without any employees.178 Nevertheless, there are still no comprehensive
estimates for how many women versus men work in MSMEs as workers, owners, or managers.179
However, while there are no concrete numbers, a study by The Asia Foundation provides some
estimates on the status women and MSMEs in the Philippines:

Snapshot of SMEs and women in the Philippines

Ease of doing business ranking 136

SMEs contribution to GDP 32%

% of workforce employed by 70%


SMEs

Women’s economic opportunity 74


index ranking

Female labor participation rate 50%

Annual growth of women’s SMEs 3%

Source: The Asia Foundation

Another note is that while Filipino women own many enterprises, they are generally nascent businesses
(69%) while men often own established businesses (66%). Filipino women’s businesses are also limited
to gendered stereotypes; the study also shares that while women play a strong role in starting a
business, they are also expected to balance unpaid family responsibilities. Hence women are typically
found in businesses that allow them to remain close to home such as retail trade, food preparation, or
home based-piecework. 180 It is said that “this trend reflects the traditional view of the man as the


178
“Recognizing the vital role of women in PH growth: DTI remains supportive of women’s economic
empowerment.” Invest Philippines. Accessed September 29, 2017. http://investphilippines.gov.ph/recognizing-
the-vital-role-of-women-in-ph-growth-dti-remains-supportive-of-womens-economic-empowerment/
179
“Gender Tool Kit”, ADB, 1.
180
“Access to Trade and Growth of Women’s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies: Evaluating Business
Environments in Malaysia – Philippines – Thailand.” APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, The Asia
Foundation. February 2013 (13). https://wlsme.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/2013_PPWE_Access-Trade-
Growth-Women-SMEs.pdf

47

breadwinner of the Filipino family, while women are seen to go into business only to augment family
income, usually pursued after marriage.”181

Based on a survey by the group Women’s Leadership in Small & Medium Enterprises, 67% of women
owners in the Philippines reported that they felt that their government was ‘supportive’ or ‘somewhat
supportive’ of business, and also reported higher rates of the accessibility of government officials182,
showing that the Philippine government’s business programs have been succeeding. In the Philippines,
most women participated in trade fairs and regulatory training (around 40%); almost 30% participated in
Skills Training and Public/Private Relationship Building Training, and more than 20% attended Export
Promotion Fairs.183

Women entrepreneurs in Indonesia are important contributors to national economic development and
growth.Women-led enterprises are relatively more likely to locate in the food, retail, and garment
manufacturing sectors.According to data from the national statistics agency, out of 2,732,724 units of
micro-sized enterprises, 41.40%are managed by women.Out of the total number of 5.3 million
employees in the small-sized enterprises and home industries, women are 44.45 percent of the workers.
In the Asia/Pacific region, Indonesia tops the list with the largest share of women SMEs,though one of
the potential reasons for high entrepreneurship rates for women may be linked with poorer formal
sector employment opportunities.However, the WDR 2012 stated the significant differences of
profitability of firms owned by male in rural areas compared to the females. Also, although women are
considered to be an important market for microfinance, targeting of women has never been a hallmark
of the Indonesian microfinance industry. Women entrepreneurs are much less likely to be at a larger
enterprise level and much more likely to be found at the small and micro enterprise sectors. According
to data from the Indonesian Women BusinessAssociation (IWAPI), out of sixteen-thousand members in
2006, around 85% were concentrated in small –sized enterprises, 12% in medium-sized enterprises and
only 3% in large scale enterprise. There are around 3,500 women cooperatives,which is 30% of the total
number of cooperatives in Indonesia.Most of them are located outside Jakarta and 82% of women-
owned or managed small medium enterprises have monthly revenue of less than $5,000.More than 90%
of women-owned or managed small medium enterprises used their own savings to establish their
business. At the same time, World Bank enterprise surveys indicate that Indonesia fares better than the
overall sample of countries in terms of female participation in ownership of firms, women as top
managers and full time workers.In Indonesia, there are more firms with women participation in
ownership than firms with women top managers, demonstrating that although women might be
owners, there are fewer women in decision-making positions to articulate their voice and preferences.

Access to finance remains difficult for women. Access to capital is the most important constraint
reported in both male-and female-run informal firms, and female-run informal firms appear to have

181
“Women Empowerment Through Business Member Organizations. (Country Fact Sheet 201%)” International
Training Centre – International Labour Organization. http://www.itcilo.org/en/the-
centre/programmes/employers-activities/hidden-folder/resources/Women%20Empowerment_Country%20fact-
sheet_Philippines_2015.pdf
182
“Access to Trade”, The Asia Foundation, 27
183
“Access to Trade”, The Asia Foundation, 28.

48

substantially less capital than male-run informal firms. Female micro firms also have lower levels of
start-up capital than male-run micro firms.Women have access to bank loans and credit, but available
data indicate differential access to finance.

In a recent World Bank survey on access to financial services, 11% of men had borrowed from
microfinance institutions, versus 9.4% of women. The same survey found that women are more likely to
borrow from pawn shops and informal sources. A slightly higher proportion of men demonstrated
financial literacy than women (54% vs. 50%), with men doing better in the mathematics test in particular
(83% vs. 79%).An IFC survey found that women experience higher barriers getting loans (35% of women
vs. 25% of men noted difficulties getting loans).This was confirmed by the recent Gender Vendor Survey,
which found similar trends regarding women’s limited access to finance.

(http://www.mca-indonesia.go.id/assets/uploads/media/pdf/Updated-Indonesia-SGIP-July-2016.pdf)

7.5. Intersectionality: attention to marginalized groups of women


The key issues of marginalized communities on the economic integration include: 1) general public’s
awareness of the AEC as well as public legitimacy of the AEC strategies and goals for the people in the
region; 2) the Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretariat suffers from institutional deficiency in terms of
inadequate funding and personnel; 3) growing scepticism on free-market-oriented regional integration
based on economic crises 4) the crux is no longer “free” trade based on zero tariffs, but the diversity of
regulation across ASEAN member-states, and 5) nature of domestic political economies controlled by
local elites. The AEC is confronted with protectionist challenges such as the battle between
transnational elites versus local, traditional elites, unminding of the consequences of the AEC for the
ASEAN peoples. 184

The ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF), a parallel platform of ASEAN
civil society and community-based organizations to the ASEAN Summit, released a joint statement
raising their concerns about the ASEAN Community and question ASEAN’s commitment to a people-
centric ASEAN in light of ASEAN member states refusal to implement or adopt the peoples
recommendations submitted since 2005.185 A number of marginalized people’s issues that have been
ignored were enumerated in the statement:

• Indigenous Peoples: Industrial and agricultural development projects mostly from the extractive
and agricultural sectors and MNCs harm the lives and livelihoodand dispossess indigenous
communities under the guise of “National Development”;186


184
Bonn Juego. “Southeast Asia: Regionalism of the Commons.” Heinrich Boll Stiftung (The Green Political
Foundation), October 29, 2015. Accessed May 3, 2016. https://www.boell.de/en/2015/10/27/southeast-asia-
regionalism-commons
185
ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) and ASEAN People’s Forum (APF).Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for
the People CSO Statement, Jan 24, 2015.http://aseanpeople.org/reclaiming-the-asean-community/
186
ACSC and APF, Reclaiming the ASEAN Community, 1.

49

• Trafficking and Violence: women from the marginalized sector such as indigenous women and
rural womencontinue to be exploited, trafficked and subjected to gender-based violence
because of oppressive development schemes launched in the name of industrialization and
commercialization
• Workers and Migrants, especially Women: the liberalization of the labor market negatively
affects workers’ rights, especially women, including local and migrant workers, sex workers,
domestic workers, and those in the informal sector regardless of their documented or
undocumented status. Forced labor migration is exacerbated by state unable to provide decent
jobs and livelihood and other rights of female workers.187

Lack of democratic processes and protections of human rights in ASEAN: there is no effective regional
consultation mechanism for civil society networks in ASEAN to participate in creating and critiquing
regional policies, there are a number of restrictions in the region that deny freedom of expression,
information, belief, peaceful assembly, and association, and violations with impunity against civil society
activists and human rights defenders which regional bodies like the AICHR and ACWC cannot address;188

Human Rights watch reports that ASEAN is now led by authoritarian leaders, imposing censorship,
detention, killing, and torture of political and civil society activists and journalists to maintain their
power. One specific example is The Sultan of Brunei, who imposed his severe version of Islamic Law,
with bans on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. 189 The same deteriorating situation on
freedom of expression and dissent is occurring across the Southeast Asian region, whether online or
offline.190 According to the Amnesty International Country Report on the Philippines, unlawful killings
due to President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” have had over 6,000 deaths in 2016; also at risk are
journalists and human rights defenders and human rights and environmental activists191.

Violence against Marginalized Peoples particularly women: Preoccupations with traditional security
issues such as territorial disputes and border conflicts are often used by states to perpetuate
xenophobia, misogyny, and ultra-nationalism, and the inability to bring about sustainable peace and
strict adherence to the ASEAN non-interference principle contribute to political unrest, refugee crisis,
trafficking, among many other human rights violations.192

Nevertheless, the study by UN Women also notes that even counter-terrorism interventions such as
increasing militarization in areas have sometimes exacerbated women and girl’s insecurity and
perpetrated women’s rights violations.193 Increasing conflict has led to a rise of internally displaced
peoples (IDPs) and refugees in recent years, most of them women.194


187
ACSC and APF, Reclaiming the ASEAN Community, 2.
188
ACSC and APF, Reclaiming the ASEAN Community, 2.
189
John Sifton. “Human Rights shouldn’t be sidelined at ASEAN Summit.” Human Rights Watch. February 10, 2016.
https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/02/10/human-rights-shouldnt-be-sidelined-asean-summit
190
“HRW: Deterioriating Outlook for Human Rights in SE Asia.” VOA News, January 13, 2017.
https://www.voanews.com/a/human-rights-watch-southeast-asia/3674978.html
191
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/philippines/report-philippines/
192
ACSC and APF, Reclaiming the ASEAN Community, 3.
193
“Women, Peace and Security in Asia Pacific: Emerging Issues in National Action Plans for Women, Peace and
Security.” (10) http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2016/12/-
/media/ffb0342e257a4aa7aa33ef3f7c9dc00c.ashx
194
Ibid.

50

Ultimately the ACSC and APF represent the broad human rights concerns among ASEAN states and urge
that ASEAN as a collective regional institution take these reports seriously before implementing
intensive political, economic, and social integration in the next years.

Moreover, as mentioned, the largely conservative and traditional perspective of ASEAN elites on women
and women’s roles also fail to pay attention to the even more marginalized subsectors of Southeast
Asian women, such as women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, and so on.

7.5.1.Women Workers, Migrant Workers, and Workers in the Agriculture Sector and Informal
Economy

The implementation of harmonization of labour laws in ASEAN is linked with the ASCC Blueprint 2025
and its scorecard and action plans, rather than linked to the action plans of the AEC.195 It is found that
actions by governments often converge with economic interests at the expense of workers and affected
communities. Out of 278 cases of human rights allegations to which the Business and Human Rights
Resource Centre (BHRRC) have invited companies in Southeast Asia to respond, 70% involved some sort
of direct abuse from government forces in the form of forced eviction of communities and violence in
breaking up workers’ protests.196 From a government perspective, “the business and human rights
agenda in Southeast Asia is largely considered through a voluntary ‘corporate social responsibility’
lens—a perception that is reinforced by legislation in some countries that couches CSR in terms of
philanthropic social contributions, thus skirting the need to directly address direct human rights abuses
and their root causes.”197 Most of the issues handled by BHRRC in relation to corporations have been
land-related (forced evictions, displacement, compensation, and loss of related livelihoods), followed by
worker’s rights abuses including poor health and safety conditions, forced labor, and child labor.198
Almost half of the cases were related to the extractive sector (oil, gas and coal, and mining) as well as
finance, agriculture and forestry, apparel, tourism, food and beverage, tourism, and so on. Human rights
defenders of business practices in ASEAN are also at high risk, repressed through arbitrary detention,
harassment, lawsuits, violence and intimidation. As BHRRC states, “The pace of economic integration
means that in many instances governments are rolling back protections and repressing dissent to
encourage inward investment and rapid infrastructure development”.199

A report from 2012 said that about 2.3 million Filipino women still suffered from labor code violations,
rendering unpaid labor especially in the countryside, being classified as “unpaid family workers.” Citing
Leah Escresa of The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), unpaid family


195
ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Council, Labour Laws and Practices in ASEAN, 13.
196
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. “BRIEFING: Development for all, or a privileged few?: Business &
human rights in Southeast Asia.” BHRRC, (2015): 3. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://business-
humanrights.org/en/development-for-all-or-a-privileged-few-business-human-rights-in-southeast-asia
197
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. “BRIEFING: Development for all, or a privileged few?: Business &
human rights in Southeast Asia.” BHRRC, (2015): 5. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://business-
humanrights.org/en/development-for-all-or-a-privileged-few-business-human-rights-in-southeast-asia
198
BHHRC, “BRIEFING”, 8.
199
BHHRC, “BRIEFING”, 9.

51

women workers are susceptible to abuse, as they have no pre-determined scope of work, experience
long hours, measly wages, and unsecure employment terms.200

Many issues of migrant abuse are not addressed by the AEC Blueprint. The ASEAN may have made
efforts to mainstream migrant and female migrant rights and standards: in 2007 member-states
adopted the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and
are signatories and/or state parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and CEDAW. The
Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei all have their particular national laws concerning domestic workers.

However, historically, women migrant domestic workers are invisible in national policies, and they do
not include a gendered dimension for the protection of their rights. The Philippine and Indonesian
governments for instance have both encouraged labor export and have gained benefits from OFW
remittances, but both sending states fail to address the plight of migrant workers abroad, especially the
women. 201 Although the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant
Workers was established in 2007, actual implementation of member-states’ commitments is deficient
due to the embedded norm of non-interference, which also limits the power of the AICHR and the
ACWC to fulfill or expand its mandate. 202 Moreover, the issues of migrant workers and women are often
taken separately: issues of women are addressed by ACWC and of migrant workers by ACMW. There is a
distinct lack of a human rights dimension in the AEC; instead, all matters pertaining to human rights and
the protection of migrant workers are assigned to the ASCC. 203

The female migrant worker experience is a reflection of embedded societal and institutional gender
inequality combined with intersecting factors of ethnicity, class, etc. The violations of female migrant
workers’ rights stem from systemic discriminations and violations that have a gendered dimension—that
as poor women experience discrimination, violence, and limited opportunities at home and decide to
exercise their agency to go into domestic work abroad, they unfortunately also meet the same
conditions in the destination state.

The removal of tariffs cause harms in local economies, affecting grassroots women producers, mostly in
impoverished rural areas, who would therefore seek job opportunities elsewhere, contributing to the
rising migration phenomenon.204Their vulnerable conditions and AEC’s market-orientedness leads to the
trend of migrating for work under oppressive terms of employment.205In the context of labor migrants,
the free flow of labor in ASEAN covers only ASEAN professionals or high-skilled workers or persons
engaged in goods. DATA

Hence, the AEC is criticized for failing to recognize that most labor migration in the region involves less
skilled, low wage workers, occurring under temporary migration regimes, with irregular, undocumented
workers surpassing regular workers.206 The situation is intensified for female migrants: women have

200
Tubeza, Philip C. “2.3 M Filipino Women still suffer unfair labor practices.” Inquirer.net. March 9, 2012.
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/158613/2-3m-filipino-women-still-suffer-unfair-labor-practices
201
WLB Inc., “Compliance with Women’s Rights Standards”, 59.
202
WLB Inc., “Compliance with Women’s Rights Standards”, 59.
203
WLB Inc., “Compliance with Women’s Rights Standards”, 59.
204
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Inc.” The Missing Women: Implications of the ASEAN Integration to
Women Migrant Workers’ Rights.” WLB, Inc., (2015): 15. https://www.scribd.com/doc/308081579/The-Missing-
Women-Implications-of-the-ASEAN-Integration-to-Women-Migrant-Workers-Rights
205
WLB, Inc., “The Missing Women”, 15.
206
WLB, Inc., “The Missing Women”, 35.

52

greater difficulty in accessing safe, legal migration channels because they tend to have less money and
access to resources and encounter harsher restrictions in freedom of movement and exclusion from
services and support networks.207The “feminization of migration and reproductive labor relegates
female migrant workers to “invisible” domestic work, making them unable to get decent work and
access to social protections and at a greater risk of being trafficking victims, and their contributions to
ASEAN economies are ignored. The concerns of female domestic workers are also related to issues of
increasing globalization and industrialization as ASEAN moves towards a more “borderless community”
and encourages labor exchange in it’s the ASEAN 2025 agenda. Increased migration between Southeast
Asian countries would exacerbate deplorable conditions of migrant workers if their protections are not
ensured by ASEAN and its member-states.

As some women migrants are also from rural communities, rural women are also an important sector to
consider. By mainstreaming the economic empowerment of rural women, it will also expand their
access to, and ownership of, productive resources and land. “Women are farmers and farmers are
women” in most developing nations, and that economic empowerment goes hand in hand with enabling
women and men to have equal voices and influence in rural institutions and organizations, reducing
women’s workloads, and achieving equal sharing of economic and social benefits between women and
men.

Women workers in the agricultural sector are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, natural
disasters, and climate change, generally undertake work outside the formal economic sphere, and have
no access to social services like healthcare and education. Rural women often worked in deplorable
situations, with long hours of unpaid work, and that rural-to-urban or international migration often was
the only viable option for rural women which could result in exploitation and abuse as migrants. The
negative effects of the neoliberal economic agenda are manifest in issues such as access to land and
inheritance where lands are being sold to foreign investors in the name of economic growth. Rural
women in the region face gender-related inequalities that were rooted in discrimination based on
ethnicity, caste, class, and other factors, also criticizing neoliberal trade policies in the region.208 DATA

Based on Independent Report of NGO concerning the implementation of CEDAW in Indonesia, prepared
by CEDAW Working Group of Indonesia in 2012, there is some problems related of women and
workforce :
• Married women workers/labors are regarded as single and are subject to higher tax as
compared to men workers/labors. Women workers/labors do not get allowances such as family
allowance, birth allowance, and tax decrease.
• There are many sexual harassment in various work places, be it by colleagues, supervisor or
boss, including in legislative environment and government institution and BUMN (States
Enterprises).
• Women workers have difficulties to get their rights on Workers’ Social Security, although it has
been stipulated in Law Number 3-1992 on Workers’ Social Security which organizes that
husband/wives and the families have the rights to get Health Care Security.


207
WLB, Inc., “The Missing Women”, 36.
208
Commission on the Status of Women. “Rural Women ‘Powerful Catalysts for Sustainable Development’, Agents
against Poverty, Hunger, Women’s Commission Told, as General Debate Concludes.” (Economic and Social Council
th th
Meetings Coverage, Fifty-sixth Session, 12 & 13 Meetings (AM & PM), March 5, 2012).
http://www.un.org/press/en/2012/wom1897.doc.htm

53

• In all sectors be it in manufacture industries, or media, there are only around 10% women who
are in the positions of decision makers.
• Some companies discriminate against and criminalize women workers/labors. At 40 years of age
women workers regarded as unproductive. Some companies terminate them through a slander
that a particular worker has stolen the company’s stuff.
• Although Law Number 23 – 2004 on Eradication of Domestic Violence has acknowledged
domestic workers in the household, the government has not used the law to protect domestic
workers’ rights. The government has not regarded domestic workers as workers, so that these
workers have not got their basic rights fully such as their rights to decent work facilities and
health social securities like other workers. These domestic workers (majority are women) are
vulnerable to physical, psychological, and sexual violence and exploitation, such as low wages,
and long working hours.
• There are many children domestic workers (especially girl child) in big cities in Indonesia. They
also vulnerable to physical, psychological, and sexual violence.
• Law Number 39-2004 on Protection and Placement of Indonesian Workers Overseas manages
more Indonesian Migrant Workers’ placement rather than their protection. As a result, migrant
workers placement presently does not guarantee migrant workers and their families’ rights, it
even expose women migrant workers to exploitation, trafficking, violence, discrimination,
marginalization, and stereotyping from their villages, in the training center, transit country, up
to the destination country. This situation causes the fulfillment of women workers rights far
from secure, and this includes violation to decent wages, over time allowances, day offs, health
and safety allowances, worship, freedom for uniting, expression, communication, and the rights
to hold their own passports
• In terms of reproductive health women migrant workers (1) do not get menstrual leave; (2) not
allowed to be pregnant; (3) banned to work if HIV/AIDS infected.
• The above violence experienced even double for Undocumented women migrant workers, and
their access to get rights as workers is blocked by their guilty feeling or they are afraid of being
blamed. This fear is related to the information told by the agents that they must work properly
and comply with the employer. As illustrated by the module for managing household education
issued by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration, the emphasis on compliance with the
workers against employers. Module and the information provided by the Government and this
agency will contain very minimal information on rights as workers and citizens and how to deal
when encountering problems in the country of destination. They are prone to harassment by
police in the destination country.
• Women with disabilities, women with same sex orientation and women with positive HIV
experience discrimination in works be it in the recruitment process, requirements, career level
or treatment in the work place.

There is also problem on reproductive health for women workers: 1) Maternity leave is given to married
women, or those who could show marriage certificate; 2) Breastfeeding facilities and breast milk storage
are not available at some work places; 3) There isn’t control mechanism over maternal protection in
some factories and work places; 4) Menstrual leave only given to women workers who can show
medical certificate from a doctor/medical staff.

Indonesia

54

In Indonesia, rural women’ rights to get education and information at the community level, parents
prioritize boys to have access to education than girls because boys are considered as the successor and
will be the head of the family. This also happens in terms of information access. The women living
around the mining area, such as in Aceh (women around Semen Andalas Indonesia Company),
PetroChina Co.- Bojonegoro, East Java,.Semen Tonasa Co., Biringere-Pangkep Regency, South Sulawesi
never been given any information about the impact of the presence of the extractive industries, which
have several detrimental effects to their health.

Women experienced violence, when their lands are snatched for mining area. They experienced
criminalization, violence and sexual harassment. One media stated that violence against women in rural
Mimika District, Papua, is relatively high (250 cases during 2002-2007). According to one human rights
activist, in general the victims are tortured, raped, and murdered. The perpetrators are men either
civilian or from the military. Surprisingly, violence against women in the District of Mimika occured since
the presence of PT Freeport in Tembaga Pura (means “Copper Temple”), in 1969. More than that,
women were never be involved in the decision making process during the setting up of a mining
company. Only the men were invited in meetings for decision making, including in the process of
preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of a company. Women also are hardly ever
involved in the formulation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program provided by the Company.

The women in the rural areas have not got their rights; they are even more neglected, especially since
the presence of Palm Oil Plantation Company. Productive land, which is the source of women’s
economy, was converted into large-scale palm plantation. This land conversion marginalized women
further in accessing their resources for livelihood. Many women eventually turned to be manufacturing
workers, domestic workers both in urban areas and even become migrant workers overseas. The
development and enlargement of the oil palm plantation effect women seriously directly and indirectly.
For instance, in traditional society, women have an important role in cultivating natural resources and
supporting family life. These roles disappear along with the changes of the ecosystems and the
ecological life around them, from forest ecosystems to large-scale palm oil plantations. The company
still intends to access the ancestral lands by annexing the land and pay the "thugs" to intimidate people.
For those who insisted to stay, including women, were forced to leave their ancestral lands because they
were accused of damaging the company's goods. Police threatened to put them in jail if they dared to
return to their village. Many people were detained without clear legal procedures, and witnesses often
charged as suspect by legal enforcement officer.

In a patriarchal society, women are not recognized as farmer. Women can have the designation as a
farmer because they live in a family of farmers and assist the work of rice farming on the land owned by
their fathers or husbands. Administratively, they do not have their own land or paddy fields. The
implication is that women are not involved in decision-making to determine the production process;
types of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides that are safe for women. In addition, they also do not engage in
deliberations-farming village meeting-related issues in the community because farmers are considered
as men. It could be said that women are only "pseudo-farmers" in agricultural community. This is ironic,
because 60% of women in Indonesia are engaged in agricultural work.

Wrestling in the fisheries sector means doing activities that are fully dependent on nature with full of
uncertainties and risks. Fishermen often do not get the catch, particularly during bad weather, but has
spent money to buy for fuel. These conditions led the coastal women have to work harder to overcome
economic uncertainty, as retailers, fish collectors, wholesalers, wage laborers, and labor in fishery
processing.

55


Poverty of fisher families is further exacerbated by reclamation activities which are carried out along 32
kilometers of North Coast of Jakarta. Jakarta as the capital city of Indonesia has around 12 million
citizen. Initially, the Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) Reclamation Jakarta was canceled by the
Ministry of Environment until the developers create a new design of the reclamation Pantura conducted
by forming small islands in the Bay of Jakarta which is separated from the mainland. Mangrove forest
cleared for the purpose of reclamation and the developer continued to develop housing, infrastructure
and industries such as Marunda Center, East Flood Canal Levee and Nusantara Bonded Zone (KBN)
Marunda. At the same time, there are about 20 factories and industries that discharge their wastes into
the river down which empties into the Bay of Jakarta, with a very dangerous payload, which is lead and
mercury, resulting in thousands of fishermen decreased earnings in line with the poor quality of waters
from pollution. Mass mortality of fish and other aquatic biota in the Jakarta Bay area in 2007 was the
peak of the iceberg water pollution problems in the region. Pollution of these waters will certainly affect
the quality of reproductive health of women fishers who use contaminated water for their daily life
(population at Marunda Kepu consist of 150 women and 129 men with 35% of 50-80 years old; 45% of
20-49 years old; and 20% of 0-19 years old).

The reclamation activities are also happended in Semarang-Central Java Province. Indo Perkasa
Usahatama and SINAR Centra Cipta Companies have concession of reclamation of each identified area of
200 hectares and the reclamation of 67 hectares of coastal area. Reclamation project also includes an
area of 60 acres by the number of entrepreneurs on Malalayang and Kalasey Beach, Minahasa Regency,
North Sulawesi Province.

‘Greedy’ palm oil companies tapped water affecting the availability of clean water, which influence the
life of women as they used to be very close to water in their daily life. Clean water crisis will increase the
workload of women, where women have to find clean water for household needs; even many of them
had to purchase the clean water. The women are vulnerable to health problems including reproductive
health, because they have contact with pesticide (women workers’ job in the plantation is spraying
seedling). They do not get menstruation leave. In addition, women have limited opportunities to be
supervisor in palm plantations. This can be seen from the number of female supervisors who hardly
even existed in any large-scale palm oil plantations industry.


Philippines

In the Philippines, women provide 84% of the total household time allocated to child care (Tiefenthaler
1997). Domestic and care work can constrain participation in paid work. For example, in the Philippines,
31% of working-age women reported that they were not in the labor force in 2011 because of
household or family duties, compared to only 3% of men who reported this (DOLE Decent Work
Statistics Online Database).17

Gendered social norms contribute to women’s greater responsibility for and time commitments to
domestic and care work, and this has been slow to change, despite women’s increased participation in
paid work. Relatively high fertility rates will continue to raise the demand for women’s unpaid labor
time, especially given the low availability of child care services.

56

Women are not only more likely than men to be in vulnerable employment but also more likely to be an
unpaid contributing family worker, which offers the least opportunities for decent work. For women in
the Philippines, the share of unpaid family workers did not decline over the decade and accounted for
16.8% of all women’s work in 2011, which is double the percentage of men working as unpaid
contributing family workers .209

Wage employment spans a continuum from informal to formal employment, with decent work more
likely in formal employment. Formal employment refers to jobs that are covered by national legislation,
social protection, and employment benefits; informal employment is defined in the opposite
manner.19 Although formal work conditions may be better than in nonwage work or informal
employment, there is considerable opportunity for improvement, given the poor conditions reported for
formal jobs in the Philippines.20

7.5.2.Women with Disabilities



A major issue on literature on women with disabilities in ASEAN is the glaring lack of up-to-date,
relevant data on PWDs, especially gender-segregated data, which only proves that women with
disabilities are truly disregarded in ASEAN discourse.

According to Sida, there are no reliable, up-to-date statistics on disability across the region and that
existing data by the WHO/World Bank are based on projections, showing that ASEAN member states
have much to do regarding collecting relevant and accurate data on persons with disabilities. This is also
because of the fact that various studies depend on different definitions of disability: while The
Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) uses a broad definition, many countries still
have narrower medical definitions that do not meet CRPD criteria.210 WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES

As for international instruments, nine out of the ten ASEAN countries have signed the CRPD (Myanmar
has not signed the treaty) while eight have ratified it. The CRPD is the first international, legally binding
aimed at proteting the human rights of persons with disabilities; however, only one ASEAN country,
namely Cambodia, has signed the optional protocol to the CPRD which allows persons with disabilities
whose rights have been violated to bring complaints to the Committee on the Rights of People with
Disabilities.211

CEDAW and CRC, of which all ASEAN member states are state parties, also include provisions to protect
the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly women and children. At the regional level, all ASEAN
countries are signatories to the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with
Disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region, and the Biwako Plus Five Framework for Action Towards an
Inclusive, Barrier Free and Rights Based Society for Persons with Disability, and are also party to the
UNESCAP’s Incheon Strategy which provides the first set of regionally agreed disability-inclusive


209
DOLE Decent Work Statistics Online Database
210
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. “Disability Rights in Southeast Asia”, Sida,com,
November 2014. Accessed April 14, 2016. http://www.sida.se/globalassets/sida/eng/partners/human-rights-
based-approach/disability/rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-south-east-asia.pdf
211
SIDA, “Disability Rights in Southeast Asia”, 2.

57

development goals with implementation targets and indicators. In the subregional level, the ASEAN
Secretariat has a division dealing with social development, women, and labour issues. Disability rights
also fall broadly within the mandate of the ASCC council and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social
Welfare and Development.The Sida report claims that there are many CSO organizations, government
institutions and initiatives that have been established in Southeast Asia. However, like other studies in
this bibliography, implementation of these laws are rarely observed, the national laws themselves are
contradictory and not compatible with existing international and regional standards and conventions on
disability rights, and the specific issue of discrimination against disabled peoples are not yet included in
national laws. The document SIDA provides data that is questionable due to the lack of regional
harmonization on the definition of “disability” and hence cannot present gender-segregated data that
would help studies on women with disabilities in Southeast Asia.

The issues such as maternal mortality and morbidity, HIV, AIDs, and other diseases, and reproductive
health concerns are faced by women PWDs who are often denied access and information to health
services and education. PWDs also face systemic and attitudinal barriers in families and societies,
including double discrimination experienced by girls and women with disabilities who are left behind in
education and employment as compared to men and boys, so they call for a need for governments,
educators, and employers to be more sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities.212

PWDs are also highlighted as one of the worst affected because of climate change and natural disasters,
as they have less access to reach safe spaces for shelter. Other institutional barriers are in
communication, which is why the statement calls for inclusive modes of communication and a
commitment to inclusivity in political processes that would acknowledge PWDs as active decisionmakers
and members of society that could truly implement the sustainable development agenda of the UN
document and regional organizations such as in ASEAN. What is important with the ADF and ARROW
statement is that they also include the complex dimension of intersectionality and how WMDs especially
those who are impoverished face greater vulnerability, violence, and institutional barriers. What is
crucial at this point is to be able to gather gender, age, and location- disaggregated data on PWDs in
Southeast Asia to further understand their needs and protections as there are conflicting data collection
methods and criteria, and of course to actively include disability-related CSOs in ASEAN meetings and
consultations.

Though marginalized and often excluded or forgotten in discourse concerning economic integration and
development, people with disabilities or PWDs will also be greatly affected by ASEAN Community
initiatives, and that everyday, institutionalized obstacles faced by PWDs would also increase because of
the ASEAN Community. On one hand, ASEAN has also made some significant initiatives to address the
oft-ignored PWD population. ASEAN has compiled 15 points to promote disability-inclusive development
in the context of the ASEAN Community Vision, such as employment and decent work, education, and
the realization and protection of PWDs fundamental rights. These points are accompanied with


212
The Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and the ASEAN Disability Forum
(ADF).Response to the Outcome Document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda by
the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF), Partners and Allies, September 23, 2015. Accessed March 13, 2016.
http://arrow.org.my/adf-statement/

58

enforcement mechanisms such as the establishment of a network of businesses to contribute to the
employment of PWDs.213

There is fear that conditions of PWDs may worsen in the following years leading the ASEAN Community
due to the lack of protections and recognition of their basic needs and rights. While economic
integration may progress for some, PWDs may be left even more disenfranchised and impoverished as
they cannot gain the same access and opportunities to the projected benefits of the post-2015 ASEAN
Vision.

Indonesia
Based on the research of Economy and Community Research Institute (LPEM), Faculty of Economics and
Business (FEB), University of Indonesia (UI) at the end of 2016, estimated number of persons with
disability in Indonesia reach 12.15% of the population or nearly 30 million people. The level of education
achieved by the disabled is also less than non-disabled. If 87.31% of non-PwDs are educated at the
elementary level and above, only 54.26% of disability fared similarly. 45.74% others did not graduate
and never even received elementary school. This is one of the factors causing the low absorption of
labor of this difable group. Based on data from LPEM FEB UI, only 51.12% of PwDs participate in the
labor market. The amount is very low when compared with non-disabled workers who reached 70.40%.
214


Women not only face subordination in patriarchal culture, but also face other conditions that further
marginalize its position. Persons with disabilities are more vulnerable to poverty because they are
related to the limited opportunity of persons with disabilities to education and employment. Women
with disabilities find it difficult to find employment opportunities in companies because of their ability to
work and discrimination in the workplace.

Women with disabilities are also vulnerable to being victims of sexual violence and domestic violence.
Research conducted by the Indonesian Women with Disabilities Association or HWDI on October –
December 2015, there are 85 cases of sexual violence against disabled persons in 22 provinces, with the
typology: 35% (36 cases) against mentally disabled, 7.08 % (6 cases) against blind disability, 27.06% (23
cases) against mute disability, 8.24% (4 cases) against physically disabled, 10.59 % (9 cases) against
double disabilities, and 4.71 % (4 cases) against unknown types of disabilities. 48. From the cases above
mentioned, there are 32 cases were not addressed by the law upholder due to many reasons, some of
which are; the victim feels shame and scare to submit a report and only tell the story to their relatives,
new cases appear during the interview, unknown perpetrator and lack of evidences or witnesses as a
result of communication difficulties, victims can not see, proving difficulties, which ended up with the
termination of the case by the police. Perpetrator of sexual violence against persons with disabilities
oftentimes was not being legally proceeded. Parents whom not aware of the law enforcement system is
causing many cases of sexual violence against women with disabilities is not reported to the police
which effecting to the inaccuracy of the data available. This is compounded with the lack of concern by
the upholder toward the cases of sexual violence against persons with disabilities. 215


213
Anugrah, KharismaRidho. “Your Letters: Disabled Rights in ASEAN.” The Jakarta Post, November 4, 2014.
Accessed April 14, 2016. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/11/04/your-letters-disabled-rights-
asean.html
214
http://www.rappler.com/indonesia/berita/155758-sebab-solusi-partisipasi-penyandang-disabilitas-tenaga-kerja
215
http://hrwg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2-Joint-UPR-Report-for-the-rights-Disability_Indonesia.pdf

59

7.5.3.PhilippinesLesbian, Bisexual and Transgender or LBT Women

There is a large lack of literature and in-depth studies on ASEAN lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) empowerment, rights and issues in relation to ASEAN integration and
economic opportunities. While LGBTIQ activism is growing in ASEAN, they remain largely invisible and
neglected especially in the AEC. According to a regional report, the existence of LGBTIQ persons in
Southeast Asia is marked by stories of stigmatization, violence, and exclusion within the social,
economic, and political lives of their communities and nations. 216 Within ASEAN member-states, LGBTIQ
people have been stigmatized as dangers to national security and threats to the moral fabric of society.

People of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics
(SOGIESC) are often denied fundamental freedoms – from rights to free expression, political association,
family, health, and so on. This denial of LGBTIQ people’s human rights is often justified on the grounds
of religious beliefs (e.g. that being LGBTIQ is un-Islamic, un-Christian, or unBuddhist), cultural identity
(e.g. that being
LGBTIQ is incompatible with the country’s history and traditions), and defense of sovereignty (e.g.
that being LGBTIQ is a “Western” construct that is alien and destructive to the nation), though these
rationales often overlap.217 There is an unabated and increasing trend of criminalization of LGBTIQ
persons in ASEAN. In many countries, laws continue to exist that criminalize, or are invoked to
criminalize, LGBTIQ persons. Across Southeast Asia, there is a pervasive lack of comprehensive legal
frameworks that recognize and protect LGBTIQ persons. LGBTIQ persons face extensive discrimination at
all stages of employment, from education and training to access to employment, career opportunity and
advancement, as well as in access to employment and social security benefits. 218

The ASEAN has been criticized by LGBT groups in Southeast Asia for consistently failing its
responsibilities as truly people-centered and people-oriented regional community due to its refusal to
recognise and affirm the principles of inclusivity and non-discrimination.”219 Lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, intersex and queer persons continue to experience SOGIE-based discrimination and
violence in an institutional level throughout the years. Moreover, ASEAN has not condemned SOGIE-
based discrimination, and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration does not explicitly state that LGBTIQ
persons are entitled to equal rights. Indeed, the ASEAN SOGIE implores that the ASEAN regional
community is not truly exclusive unless ASEAN, as well as the governments of its member-states,
recognize the inherent dignity and rights of all persons regardless of SOGIE.220 ASEAN’s call for
inclusivity and a people-centered and people-oriented ASEAN does not translate into action – there
remain lack of actual laws and initiatives that prevent LGBTIQ repression within ASEAN member-states,
and poor implementation of regional conventions.


216
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (2017). The Rainbow in Context: An Overview of the Situation of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) Persons in Southeast Asia.
https://aseansogiecaucus.org/images/resources/publications/The%20Rainbow%20in%20Context%20-
%20LGBTIQ%20Persons%20in%20SEA.pdf
217
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (2017
218
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (2017
219
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC),.ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Media Statement On ASEAN Community Vision 2025, 2015.
Accessed March 23, 2016.https://aseansogie.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/statement-on-the-asean-community-
vision-2025/
220
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Media Statement, 2.

60

Indonesia

LGBT in Indonesian society is generally seen as a form of deviance, both in terms of psychological
review, social norms and religion. This situation eventually leads to stigma in LGBT groups and puts them
in a difficult position as they live in families and communities. LBT women who work as laborers still
often get multiple discrimination, in addition because they work as laborers, plus bad stigma due to
their sexual orientation choice. Starting from the difficulty of accessing jobs, especially in the formal
sector jobs, because many employers are homophobic or because the environment is generally
unfriendly to LGBT people. Meanwhile, those who managed to get a job also often experienced
discriminatory treatment such as humiliation, shunned, threatened, and even experienced physical
violence. LGBT experiences discrimination since the early stages of applying, evaluating and promoting.
Workers known or known as LGBT find it difficult to get positive evaluations and promotions even if
their work is long enough. Highly educated people have a wider space to be themselves, meaning they
can be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, and easily change jobs because they have
the ability, but those who are not highly educated will try to keep their work despite having to be closed
about their sexual orientation.221

Arus Pelangi, explained that from January to March 2016, there were 142 cases of arrest, assault,
discrimination, expulsion, and hate speech directed against the LGBT group. The movement in fighting
for the rights of the LGBT group will always encounter major obstacles in society, as long as negative
stigma continues to be directed to people with different sexual orientations. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals
and transgenders are often seen as a disease to be cured. 222

Despite the Indonesia’s Constitution Law and Human Rights Law clearly stated the religious rights, there
are some regulations of central and local governments that are against the principles of freedom of
religion and belief, and become the trigger to intolerant actions and violation of human rights, as found
in Law No. 1/PNPS/1965 on Prevention of Religions Abuse and Insults (the Blasphemy Law), Joint Decree
of 3 Ministries on Ahmadiyah and Gafatar, and local regulations that forbids Ahmadiyah and Shia
activities.The Blasphemy law has been used to privilege members of the six mainstream religions and
exert control over, prosecute and even ban religious minorities and sects. While the Blasphemy Law was
only used a handful of times under former President Suharto, over the past decade it has been
increasingly used to target religious minorities, and has contributed to an environment of intolerance in
Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has done nothing to revise statutes and regulations that interfere with this
right and has continued to side with the majority. Although Articles 156 and 157 of the Criminal Code
(KUHP) should prohibit hate speech, they have never been used against individuals using hate speech or
advocating violence against members of minority communities, which on some occasions has included
public officials. The government has not developed effective mechanisms to prevent hate speech
deteriorating into violence.


221
Laporan Penelitian : Pandangan Pekerja Terhadap Lesbian, Gay, Biseksual dan Transgender (LGBT) Di
Jabodetabek: Study Kualitatif Pengetahuan, sikap dan praktek pekerja mengenai LGBT, oleh Oleh : Dadun dan Zola
Dwiwantika, Reconstra dan KPPPA, Jakarta, 2015
222

http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2016/08/21/23055511/diskriminasi.kelompok.lgbt.dan.pemerintah.yang.tutup.
mata

61

Violence encouraged by religions keeps on happening because of the weak law enforcement for
violence perpetrators with religious background, as happened inTanjung Balai on July 29, 2016.
Hatespeech, as the trigger of the violence, is banned with Article 156 Indonesia’s Penal Code and Police
Chief Circular Letter on hatespeech handling. Nonetheless, the regulation is not effectively
implemented, and tends to limit the freedom of expression and opinion.

Even though the freedom to express is guaranteed by Indonesia’s Constitution Law, Human Rights Law,
and Press Law, the rights for freedom of expression and opinion are still vulnerable to violation in
practice. In 2015, Press Legal Aid (LBH Pers) noted that there are 47 cases on journalists. Until April
2016, there are10 violence cases to journalists, and most of the perpetrators are policemen.

Criminalization of interviewees in TV programs also became a trend, there are 3 criminalization cases
against activists for defamation against individuals or public institutions (Report of the Press Legal Aid
Data, 2016).With many reasons, the labours doing demonstrations also being criminalizedincluding legal
aid advocates. The last period of October to mid-December 2015, 46 labours, 3 Jakarta Legal Aid
advocates, 13 civil society activists, and 306 Papuan activists are arrested for stating their opinions or
assisting activities that are considered as expressing opinions in public. 223

Although there are several provisions protecting the rights of human rights defenders, but mechanism
or system guaranteeing the protection of human rights defenders and impunity for past abuses is still
weak. A number of human rights defenders were killed, become victims of violence, get threats and
intimidation because of their work in 2013-2016, and environmental human rights defenders were
particularly susceptible to violations. A large number of human rights defenders were also criminalised
because of their work. Criminalization takes many forms, although one of the most common is through
the use of Law No. 11 of 2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions, which includes provisions on
insults and defamation. The law is often used to stifle freedom of expression and weaken activists and
organizations critical of the government. Activists working on environmental and land rights issues,
working in the legal aid field, using defamation charges, anti-corruption, and journalist were also subject
to arbitrary arrest and criminalized through the manufacturing of cases and the use of torture during
detention and investigation to extract confessions. The perpetrators of human rights violations against
human rights defenders are dominated by police, private security contractors and religious vigilante
groups.

Other common violations of the rights of human rights defenders have included restrictions on their
freedoms of association and expression. As described above, one notable case occurred in Jakarta, when
police broke up a demonstration against Government Regulation No. 78 of 2015 on Wages, which they
considered violated workers’ rights to a decent wage. Journalists also had events disbanded or
disrupted. On 3 May 2016, to mark World Press Freedom Day, the Association for Independent
Journalists (AJI) planned a screening of the film Pulau Buru: Tanah Air Beta (Buru Island, My Homeland),
which tells the story of a former political prisoner returning to the island prison. But the screening was
disbanded by Yogyakarta police, who claimed AJI did not hold the correct license for conducting a film


223
http://hrwg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/1-Joint-Submission_Indonesian-Civil-Society-Report-for-
Universal-Periodic-Review-UPR-on-2017.pdf

62

screening. AJI had, in fact, already informed police of the event, and had even invited the police to
attend. On 16 December 2014, in a similar incident, AJI Yogyakarta was forced to cancel a planned
screening of Joshua Oppenheimer’s film, The Look of Silence. Yogyakarta police had urged AJI to cancel
the event, warning that if they did not, they were vulnerable to being attacked by the Indonesian Anti-
Communist Front (FAKI).224

Philippines

Based on Philippine LGBT CSOs submission to CEDAW, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LBT) persons
in the Philippines suffer discrimination and violence in their own families, schools, workplace, and by
employers and members of the public225. Violence includes physical abuse, sexual assault including rape,
and in some cases, even torture and murder. Family violence includes physical abuse and forced
confinement by parents. For the past 15 years, the Anti-Discrimination Bill, a proposed national law to
explicitly protect vulnerable groups, including LBT persons from discrimination and promote their rights,
continues to languish in Congress. Without the Anti-Discrimination law, crimes against LBT persons are
not taken and LBTpersons in the Philippines have no rights to equality before the law, non-
discrimination, and safety.

Philippines LGBT Hate Crimes Watch reported a total 141 documented cases of hate crimes recorded
from 1996 to August 2011, 95 hate crimes involved gay men, 26 involved transgender persons, 16
involved lesbians and four involved bisexuals. Hate crimes generally refer to criminal acts that are
motivated by bias against persons belonging to a certain social group, usually defined by race, religion,
sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or
political affiliation.

Negative stereotypes and prejudice in general towards LGBT persons trigger intense hatred. At the same
time, violence against women is high as reported by many women’s organizations, including UN Women
Philippines. Under these conditions, LBT persons are subjected to feelings of male superiority usually
rooted in patriarchal attitudes, which compound the homophobia and transphobia and motivates
violent crimes against them. For example, several lesbians were murdered because of intense
resentment by male perpetrators who felt justified to kill lesbians because they posed a threat. These
men felt
lesbians have no right to “steal” their women. Some of the perpetrators murdered lesbians for “leading
their female relatives to immorality and live sinful lives.”

7.5.4.Indigenous Women


224
http://hrwg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/6-UPR-Shadow-Report-on-the-Situation-of-Human-Rights-
Defenders-in-Indonesia-1.pdf
225
EnGendeRights, Inc. , et al., PHILIPPINE LBT COALITION REPORT for 64th SESSION of CEDAW. 2016.
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/PHL/INT_CEDAW_NGO_PHL_24215_E.pdf

63

The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) has published several studies on the conditions of indigenous
communities in Southeast Asia. In their 2015 report on Victims of Development Aggression: Indigenous
Peoples in ASEAN, the AIPP shares that although ASEAN has adopted the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007, ASEAN instruments “[do] not refer in any way to
indigenous peoples and their recognition as distinct peoples with inherent collective rights over our
lands, territories, and resources”.226Moreover, most member-states still refuse to grant IDPs collective
rights especially to their lands, territories, resources and to self-determination.

The AIPP report on Indigenous Peoples and ASEAN Integration also specifically looks at the ASEAN Vision
2025 and the Three Pillars and how AEC projects adversely affect IP communities. In the section
discussing ASEAN’s roadmap to development towards ASEAN Vision 2025, the AIPP state that the APSC
and ASCC blueprints emphasize traditional national security concerns on terrorism and interstate
conflict as well as the protection of human rights and diverse cultures founded on a common regional
identity yet all fail to include protections and concerns of the indigenous community. As for the AEC
blueprint which is relevant to our study, the AIPP’s critique of the AEC is listed as the following: its
strong focus on trade, investment and finance liberalization only protects corporations rather than end-
users (consumers); lacks clear assurance of environmental and livelihood sustainability; disregards
existing bilateral economic agreements; and lacks details on how the region acts as a whole..227 DATA

Development aggression is a key issue that affects indigenous communities in the region. Not only does
development aggression and concerns on energy security forcibly evict IDPs from their ancestral lands
and livelihoods, but also cause massive environmental destruction.228 For instance, part of the ASEAN
member states’ commitment to the AEC blueprint is the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation
(APAEC) which aims to secure energy supplies for the region through the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) and
Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) as well as a commitment to the ASEAN Highway Network and other
trans-ASEAN transportation and telecommunications infrastructure projects—however in pursuing
energy and transportation projects IDPs are forcibly and even in some cases violently removed from
their lands without free and prior informed consent (FPIC) to IPs. Environmental sustainability in
particular is essential for indigenous communities who rely on their ancestral lands and the environment
for their homes, livelihoods, and everyday practices, yet these are all endangered by ASEAN
development projects under the AEC such as interconnecting roads and highways, economic zones,
mining, dams and power projects, palm oil plantation and other bio-fuel projects, commercial
agriculture and land concessions for real estate development and commercial tourism.229

Activists also decry the expansion of monocrop plantations. Under President Duterte’s term, there are
government plans to boost foreign corporate oil palm investments in Mindanao and Palawan.
The Indigenous World 2017 reports that the Philippine government has pronounced 6.67 million
hectares or 18% of the country’s total land area for land-use conversion through joint corporate
agribusiness venture agreements and direct foreign investments; the government-sanctioned aggressive

226
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact.Victims of development aggression: Indigenous Peoples in ASEAN. (Thailand, AIPP):
(2015): 9. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://www.aippnet.org/index.php/publication-sp-2697/human-rights/1541-
victims-of-development-aggression-indigenous-peoples-in-asean
227
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact.Indigenous Peoples and ASEAN Integration. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Foundation Thailand, (2015): 25-26. Accessed in March 25, 2016. http://iva.aippnet.org/wp-
content/uploads/2015/12/Ips-and-ASEAN-Integration_Final-Small.pdf

228
AIPP, Victims of development aggression, 7.
229
AIPP, Indigenous Peoples and ASEAN Integration, 26.

64

expansion of plantations have led to forest destruction and human rights violations against farmers and
indigenous peoples. 230

Meanwhile, the promotion of a single market and production base would be detrimental to poorer,
smaller economies and indigenous peoples’ communities. AIPP stresses that the transregional AEC
projects would mean further violations of their rights and the destruction of their ancestral lands “in the
name of development that does not benefit them” and that it “gives no regard to the practices of self-
sufficiency and sustainable resource management systems of indigenous communities. Further, it does
not provide for measures for economic equity and social safeguards.”231

The negative repercussions of the AEC on IP women directly affect and IP women. The AIPP Report on
indigenous women in Southeast Asia draws on the results of the Southeast Asia Regional Consultation
on Development, Access to Justice and the Human Rights of Indigenous Women held on October to
November in 2012 in Changmai, Thailand, together with the UN Women Regional Office of Asia and
Pacific. Women representatives from indigenous communities presented their testimonies, joined by
human rights experts from the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), UN
WOMEN, the ACWC, and other women’s rights and indigenous rights organizations. Based on case
studies and consultations that resulted in the meeting, the report reiterates that indigenous women in
Southeast Asia face numerous obstacles to justice and violations of their basic human rights, which are
mostly connected to their right to land, territory, and resources. The report also presents five specific
case studies across ASEAN, all portraying forced displacement and disrespect of indigenous peoples’
inherent rights in the name of “economic development”, and that state and non-state agents can easily
evict indigenous communities without their FPIC amidst the existence of national and international laws
on indigenous rights.

Indonesia

Indigenous women in Indonesia are more vulnerable to discrimination and layered violence due to the
entry of extractive industries into indigenous peoples' territories. Extractive industries are: industries
where raw materials are extracted directly from the surrounding nature, for example: agriculture,
plantation, forestry, fishery, livestock, mining, and others. The State in collaboration with companies
and military undertakes land grabs and customary forests for mining, oil palm plantations, national

parks, hydropower and airports in the name of development. (Sarasehan “Menggugat Posisi Perempuan
Adat di Dalam Negara dan Masyarakat Adat”, Tanjung Gusta, Sumatera Utara, 16 Maret 2017)

Development policies that have an industrialization paradigm and capital accumulation, no longer give
space to indigenous peoples' traditional wisdom in their natural resource management practices. The
government supports large corporations to control the living spaces of indigenous peoples such as
forests, gardens, mountains, and others. Based on FWI (2013) analysis, the loss of natural forest cover
(deforestation) in Indonesia in 2009-2013 is about 4.5 million hectares and Indonesia's natural forest
loss rate is about 1.13 million hectares per year. Approximately 73 million hectares of natural forest
cover in Indonesia are threatened by greater damage in the future, either due to logging activities and
planned land conversion, open access to land, or the absence of site-level managers.


230
The Indigenous World 2017. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Classensgade, Copenhagan (332-
333). https://www.iwgia.org/images/documents/indigenous-world/indigenous-world-2017.pdf
231
AIPP, Victims of development aggression, 14.

65

Development is undertaken without socialization and involves women and indigenous peoples in
decision making. This has an impact on the loss of communal / collective rights of indigenous and tribal
peoples because indigenous peoples' lands and forests are seized by the State and companies.
Indigenous women lose their living space and customary governance areas, so women are no longer
autonomous in decision making, loss of identity and knowledge related to their customary spaces and
territories. Indigenous women are still facing discrimination and violence in their indigenous
communities, which are related to inheritance problems, close violence with discriminatory community
practices such as close violence with belis or dowry, weak and low participation and political
representation of indigenous women both in institutions Adat and government due to unfulfilled
educational requirements, loss of customary women's rights as citizens to obtain identity marks such as
ID cards, marriage certificates, birth certificates, due to lack of recognition of ancestral and indigenous
marriage, and many others. 232

In many cases, indigenous people are hardly ever involved in consultation process in the
implementation of large-scale palm oil plantation on their land, even on projects that influence their life
directly. Without prior approval which is free and open (free, prior and informed consent) to the
indigenous communities affected by palm oil development, including women, the development of large-
scale oil palm give huge negative impact to indigenous people, particularly indigenous women. This is
often referred to as "the loss of traditional areas of land, forced expulsion, migration and clearing the
livelihoods and cultures, destruction and environmental pollution, destruction of social order and
community, the impact of long-term health and nutrition, and in some cases of harassments and
violence against women.

The problem faced by indigenous women based on Independent Report of NGO concerning the
implementation of CEDAW in Indonesia, prepared by CEDAW Working Group of Indonesia in 2012,
coming in of investment into the indigenous people has resulted in the deprivation of land ownership
from women to mining or palm oil companies. The consequence is that indigenous women are no longer
capable of being self-sufficient over their own needs of food and other things. Indigenous women are
not given the chance to join the KKPA (Credit for Primary Cooperative for its Members) pattern in the
palm oil plantation on behalf of their own name although the land is inherited from the women side of
the family. The indigenous women also have very limited access to their own land area as a result of the
investment in indigenous villages so that it is difficult for them to develop their traditional knowledge
like farming, weaving and making traditional medicines.

The are many violations particularly human rights of women in mining areas such as : deprivation of
women’s economic resources who living in extractive industries of mining lost their economic resources
due to the emergences of mining companies to their land. For instance, PT. Freeport Indonesia came in
Timika-Papua impoverished people, in particular the women. The land where they used to farm and
garden had been snatched away by PT Freeport and resulting in the loss of their livelihood. Tailing (toxic
waste disposal) were dumped into the sea and destroying the river and the sea ecosystem and Kamoro
tribes in Papua who live from fishing have lost their livelihood and has destroyed of the plains to the
estuary of Ajkwa-Mimika District of Papua. Hundreds of women in Sidoarjo, East Java, have lost their
livelihood. Their homes submerged in mud due to the inclusion of PT. Lapindo Brantas Co. The same
situation happened in families who live around SAI (Semen Andalas Indonesia) Company in Aceh. They

232
(Inkuiri Nasional Komnasham : Hak Masyarakat Hukum Adat Atas Wilayahnya di Kawasan Hutan Pelanggaran
Hak Perempuan Adat Dalam Pengelolaan Hutan, Komnas Perempuan, Jakarta, Juli 2016)

66

can no longer plant the cloves and other agriculture plants because their land is covered with dust waste
from the cement company. Obviously the above cases are violation of women's rights as stipulated in
article 11 of CEDAW, where women have the right to decent and harmless job, and article 14 of CEDAW
in which rural women have the right to get a job and land rights.


Philippines

Based on the UNDP study on indigenous peoples in the Philippines as of 2013, there is an estimated 14-
17 million IPs belonging to 110 ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines.233 According to the statement
by the Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education Philippines
(TEBTEPPA), however, “there continues to be a serious lack of data on the number and distribution of
indigenous peoples in the Philippines […] Preliminary data presented by the Philippine Statistics
Authority (PSA) show an indigenous population of 8 million, which constitutes a drastic and unrealistic
reduction of 6 million from the population estimate of 14 million by the National Commission on
Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).”234

In the Philippines, indigenous women face not only threats to their livelihood and health, but also
physical and sexual violence. Citing a report by Innabuyong, a regional alliance of indigenous women’s
organizations, that militarization has led to an increase in reports of extrajudicial killings and sexual
harassment, rape, physical and psychological torture of women.235 One example was in a local news
report where there have been cases of child labor and prostitution among mining communities in
Zamboanga del Sur.236

Indigenous women human rights defenders also face danger. Ronderos shares case studies of anti-
mining activists such as Venecia “Inday” Natinga Nestor who was shot dead in Northern Mindanao, the
massacre of Juvy Capion and her family in Mindanao, among many other anti-mining female indigenous
activitists. Not only do large-scale mining operations negatively impact indigenous communities’
livelihood, health, and the environment, but they also make them vulnerable to human rights violations,
increasing militarization of mining areas. As AWID shares, “Indigenous [Women Human Rights
Defenders] are at the forefront of the struggle against destructive mining in their communities
throughout the Philippines, and they have been targeted by State and non-State actors – or by both
acting in collaboration.”237

233
Fast Facts: Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. UNDP. July 24, 2013.
http://www.ph.undp.org/content/philippines/en/home/library/democratic_governance/FastFacts-IPs.html
234 th
Situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines: Submission to the 59 Session of CESCR. Committee in
Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Meeting with Partners, September 26, 2016. Indigenous Peoples’
International Centre for Policy Research and Education. http://tebtebba.org/index.php/content/383-situation-of-
indigenous-peoples-in-the-philippines-submission-to-the-59th-session-of-cescr
235
“Mining and Indigenous Women in the Philippines.” Engage Media News. Sevilla, Farah. Alyansa Tigil Mina
(Alliance Against Mining). June 30, 2011. https://www.engagemedia.org/Members/emnews/news/mining-and-
indigenous-women-in-the-philippines
236
Reports by AJ Jacinto of GMA News TV said that “many have been lured in to prostitution in exchange for
money: P 1500 for three hours of sex in thatched houses that serve as dens to miners wanting a good time after
putting a hard day’s work.” AJ Jacinto cited by Sevilla, Farah.
237
Ronderos, Katherine. “Defending Ancestral Lands: Indigenous Women Human Rights Defenders in the
Philippines.” The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). February 15, 2013.

67


With these illustrations of injustice that only portray a few of several issues of indigenous communities,
indigenous women face key obstacles. In general, there is a weak enforcement of existing national laws
and the UNDRIP and implementation of orders and decrees as well as abuse of authority and powers by
ASEAN governments; most legal systems fail to provide remedies by law or in practice that are effective,
preventive, timely, non-discriminatory, adequate, just and culturally appropriate; long delays of the legal
process; gender and ethnic biases in the legal system and laws; lack of adequate information about
existing laws and limited knowledge of rights; discriminatory attitudes towards women; and limited
participation in decision making in both formal and traditional systems, which intensify the violation of
indigenous women’s rights.

Moreover, indigenous women face the challenge of access to political participation. A Filipino
indigenous woman activist, Kakay Tolentino, a Dumagat and member of indigenous women rights
organizations shared that indigenous leadership is also predominantly male, exclusing indigenous
women from participating in consultations and consent processes.238

Mining operations limit the opportunities of indigenous women to partake in income generation. Most
of the mining employment opportunities (though mostly seasonal) were given to men. While there are a
few income-earning opportunities made available for women, these forms of work do not necessarily
contribute much to their development (eg, laundry, housekeeping for the miners and officers of the
company). Furthermore, the increasing pressure to earn more substantively exposes them to sexual
abuse as in prostitution, and stunted self-actualization through training programs that are only offered
to women who support mining operations in their communities. 239

7.5.5.Issues of Marginalized Women in MSMEs



There are still several challenges for women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. MSMEs are seen as the
only source of new employment and serve as a safety net especially for the urban poor in the
Philippines.240Interestingly, the Philippines had the second highest percentage of entrepreneurially
active females next to Peru in the 2006-2007 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Survey, proving that
more women are establishing their own businesses in the Philippines.

Despite these high numbers, the following are the challenges for Filipino women entrepreneurs, namely
1) inadequate access to productive resources due to the high cost of service delivery and their stringent
requirements that are below the capacity of women to meet; 2) Difficulty to sustain and scale up
enterprises, which happens more often among women-owned businesses due to lack of financing,


https://www.awid.org/news-and-analysis/defending-ancestral-lands-indigenous-women-human-rights-defenders-
philippines
238 th
Intersectionality of Violence against Indigenous Women: Statement during the 64 Session of the CEDAW
Committee. Delivered by Kakay Tolentino of BAI, LILAK, and TEBTEBBA. July 4, 2016.
http://asianindigenouswomen.org/index.php/component/k2/item/171-
239
Franciscans International, Franciscan Solidarity Movement for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
(FSMJPIC), LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), CEDAW Shadow
Report: Philippines Written Submission. 2016
240
Lazo, Lucita. “Challenges in the economic participation of women as entrepreneurs.”Philippine Institute for
Development Studies (PIDS) Policy Notes No. 2015-03 (February 2015): 1. Accessed March 23, 2016.
http://dirp3.pids.gov.ph/webportal/CDN/PUBLICATIONS/pidspn1503_rev.pdf

68

insufficient profitability, and personal reasons connected to family responsibilities and balancing
domestic duties; 3) lack of social preparation and technical skills for entrepreneurship and lack of
readiness for global markets; 4) voiceless-ness and lack of representation in governance and
decisionmaking structures especially for female entrepreneurs in the informal economy, and 5)
vulnerability and lack of access to health and socio-legal protection again especially for owners and
workers in the informal economy..241 Gender as a thematic area in MSME development can push local
stakeholders to analyse women’s and men’s access to resources and opportunities, hence removing the
barriers to women entrepreneurship.242

Regional and global integration is seen to positively affect women entrepreneurs as national policies
would adopt global business standards and methods, and is encouraged by this policy note in making
economic structures more inclusive for women. However, women are only identified as MSME owners.
The issues of and implications to other marginalized groups of women are not further interrogated, such
as workers in the informal sector, women with disabilities, lesbian, transgender, bisexual (LBT) women,
and indigenous women who may also have limited to no access to financial and social support in
establishing or working for MSMEs. The Philippine national government’s approach to gender equality
through MSME programs merely promotes formal equality, empowering only privileged women in the
formal economy who can access financial institutions and loans to own businesses, without including
the welfare of women workers.

The implications of ASEAN’s goals and targets are found in locating where women are in the supply and
value chain especially marginalized women. Value means the price is getting higher for each stage that
the product is being developed, all the way to the consumer.243 The value is equated on how the
product is valued. Yet, who dictates the value? It is mainly who owns and manages a particular segment
who decides on its value. 244 The farmers have no negotiating power, and they have to accept the
imposed price. 245 Technical workers are able to extract more benefits and command higher wages,
while farmers cannot as they are not considered “Skilled workers”... 246

For ASEAN, these initiatives may not translate to benefitting women. In the value chain, it is assumed
that women are included throughout the process. However, marginalized women mostly have no capital
in MSMEs. ASEAN version of “small” enterprises in the MSMEs is more industry-based; and some
industries are male dominated. 247 Marginalized women often lack awareness on the impact of AEC.
They don’t know about these policies, and their impact on their lives. In the government trade
agreements, women are excluded from decision making processes.248 Trade in ASEAN is monopolized,
under the guise of free competition. The role of women is still too small, and with marginalized women,
in some cases they cannot even keep their resources. 249


241
Lazo, “Challenges in the economic participation of women as entrepreneurs”, 7.
242
Lazo, “Challenges in the economic participation of women as entrepreneurs”, 8.
243
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
244
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
245
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
246
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
247
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
248
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali
249
WEAVE Partners’ Meeting and Discussion, Bali

69

Lack of Recognition of Women’s Contribution in the Economy


Women in enterprises are largely involved in production planning and cost accounting. Within the
communities, women have specific roles to play. For farming communities, women sort the palay (rice),
and are involved with marketing.250 Women determine spending and savings or “hold the wallet” not
only in domestic affairs, but also when it comes to business. In the enterprise context, women
borrowers are said to perform better than their male counterparts.

But women’s contribution to the economy is not recognized by the society and including within the
household. According to ISEA's research on four ASEAN countries, the real challenge to women's
participation in livelihood is lack of support from her husband. 251 ISEA's findings showed that there is
always a need for the woman to justify her livelihood's contribution to household income.252 While
women are active in the ground level, or the early stages of the supply and value chain, when it comes
to the leadership, the women are not as represented.253

This lack of recognition also plays a role in women’s decision-making in the household. In many
instances, women need the approval of their husbands before engaging in activities or programs for
enterprises or their organization. Often, if the husband does not see the value of the woman's work in
relation to her contribution to the household, or if he sees it interfering with her domestic duties, he will
not allow her to participate. 254

Women entrepreneurs comprise the majority of MSMEs. It is with this view that the AEC blueprint
promotes entrepreneurship and human capital development for MSMEs particularly for the youth and
the women.255 The way AEC sees it, MSMEs must be linked to Trade. MSME are expected to compete or
integrate in the global market. FORMAL NOT SUBSTANTIAL EFFORT


Lack of Information and Access, Control, and Ownership of Resources


Marginalized groups still need to lobby in their respective local government units (LGUs) to draw
attention to their respective needs. 256 Women in the communities are not always aware of the policies
available for them to become MSMEs. 257 The important information is not available or accessible
especially to women from the communities. Although the government may have programs, it has a poor
communications strategy in reaching out to potential beneficiaries 258


250
Focus Group Discussion
251
Focus Group Discussion
252
Focus Group Discussion
253
Discussion with Experts, Benjamin Quinones
254
Focus Group Discussion
255
Interview with NEDA
256
Focus Group Discussion
257
Focus Group Discussion
258
Focus Group Discussion

70

There is recognition that those (women) who have the money or capital are the ones who have capacity
to engage in trade, as well as make their MSMEs integrated in the regional or global trade. It is a cycle
that maintains and impedes the marginalized from benefiting from trade or AEC as a whole.
For the farmers or women in food production, upon harvesting, the traders are the ones who the
capitalize on their produce and move them up to the global value chain. In Trade, the major players are
the traders, and not the government. For women and MSMEs to access and benefit from the AEC, they
must have capital. Otherwise, they will stay in their (marginalized) level.259 INDIVIDUAL NOT ORGANIZED

As the country opens its borders, there is no equal playing field. 260 The large number of micro and small
enterprises is not ready. In the meantime, there is already an influx of foreign products. 261 For women,
economic democracy is important. Economic democracy means the ownership of enterprise has to be
by women.262 One solution offered by a feminist scholar, Nathalie Africa Verceles is through
implementing the solidarity economic model:
If you have a capitalist who is making all the decisions and putting a
token woman on the board representing the workers, that’s not entirely
democratic because you still have a capitalist who owns the means of
production. In the Solidarity Economic model, the owners are the
women themselves. They own, they manage, they operate the
enterprise. They make all the decisions, jointly. 263

Women have issues in relation to financial management. Aside from access to capital, another issue is
the (mis)use of the funds. Once funds have been accessed, the money sometimes gets spent on family
needs, such as tuition for their children's schooling, or for purchasing basic goods. 264

Stereotyping and Multiple Burdens


Marginalized women have limited livelihood options to participate in, because women tend to be
stereotyped into certain roles in the supply and value chain as well as in workplace.265 ISEA's research
found that common designations in MSMEs were those that were already the 'usual' roles ascribed to
women, such as a treasurer or a administrative officer. 266 While these are worthy jobs, they are
genderized. Women's participation is greater in certain industries, but less in others. There are more
women in sales and marketing, but farming communities and organizations still have more men than
women. 267 This poses limitations to women who would want to explore opportunities other than or
beyond the stereotyped roles.268

Women encounter many barriers as food producers, workers, and as entrepreneurs. Women’s
reproductive work is not recognized and taken into account in the government’s programs. Among the

259
Interview with DTI
260
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
261
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
262
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
263
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
264
Focus Group Discussion
265
Focus Group Discussion
266
Focus Group Discussion
267
Focus Group Discussion
268
Focus Group Discussion

71

biggest challenges for both women enterprise owners and the marginalized women they work with is
the traditional role expected of women in the household. Even if the woman contributes to household
income, she is still required to perform domestic duties. The pervading view of the woman in the
household, particularly the mother, is as its "ilaw ng tahanan" (light of the home).269

Even among progressive organizations, mothers still feel the need to later take care of their children,
including their grandchildren after their children have grown up. This often hinders them from
participating in their organization's activities and programs. 270

Many women are in the informal economy. 271 Even women in formal employment are informalized are
contractualized. 272 They do not have legal protections or social protections. 273 ILO defines vulnerable
employment in informal economy as (1) unpaid but contributing workers: women who man sari-sari
stores, those in agriculture, women who do housework; and (2) self-employed. There is also a gender
hierarchy even in the informal economy. The men are most likely to be secure and women are at a risk
and have lower salaries. 274 As Nathalie Verceles shared:

[The government] is pushing for women in the informal economy to
register and know about microfinance, capacity building, financial
management. [I think] the idea is to make them more formal. But it’s
hard; can you imagine the women you see in the communities, even if
you say that they’re going to simplify requirements to make it easier for
them to go into business, we have women who have businesses who
were having problems with the FDA. Because how can you be
competitive when you can’t even get a certification for your business,
it’s so strict. It’s so circuitous, so many documentary requirements.
These are women already who are established. If they experience that,
what about these women in the informal economy? Can we not
strengthen them as they are? Do they have to insert themselves in
formal accreditation?275

In the supply chain analysis, the value of the product actually comes from women’s work. 276 Yet, how
much are they just paid? 277 And what do they produce? 278 Women are confined to stereotypical areas
of work, e.g. handicrafts, beading, weaving, etc. All of these enterprises produce products that are
typically feminized and assigned to women. 279 These are not basic needs, these are accessories. This is
what the government is encouraging women and MSMEs to produce. 280 The high value products are


269
Focus Group Discussion
270
Focus Group Discussion
271
Discussion with Experts, Benjamin Quinones
272
Discussion with Experts, Benjamin Quinones
273
Discussion with Experts, Benjamin Quinones
274
Discussion with Experts, Benjamin Quinones
275
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
276
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
277
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
278
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
279
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
280
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles

72

knowledge products. 281 A cooperative owned of indigenous women from the T’boli tribe are building on
their traditional knowledge of weaving and able to make money out of it. 282

“Double Marginalization” of Women with Disabilities


The central issue confronting the women with disabilities in the enterprises is double marginalization.
DEFINE DOUBLE MARGINALIZATION On the production level, participation of women with disabilities is
scarce but it this is wherethe higher-paying salaries are. Some of the issues WWDs faceare accessibility
and inclusion and participation, especially for women workers. Capacity is a big issue for persons with
disabilities (PWDS). Lack of technical support contribute to an environment which is not conducive for
WWDs in MSMEs. 283




Women With Disability in Cooperatives
The experience of women with disability working in cooperatives is a notable case of
limited access to resources. Many of the women with disabilities are doubly marginalized.
Often, they have more difficulty with venues which do not have assistive devices for
PWDs (e.g. ramps). This prevents them for participating in the income-generating projects
of cooperatives. In effect, they remain at home and are further isolated from
opportunities to economic participation.

Further, although women with disabilities are members of the coops, the type of
livelihood offered is limiting. In the experience of Foundation for These-Abled, the
cooperatives they partner with are involved in the production of school chairs. There are
few options or activities that are available for the PWDs to explore their interests or
strengths.

Women with disability also risk vulnerability in a work environment that does not
completely cater to their needs. For instance, PWD rape victims are less susceptible to
report the case. Because of this, families of women with disability will prefer to keep their
children at home, further hindering them from participating in work.

8. Conclusion: The Potential of AEC to Achieve Equality in Access, Opportunity and Results in
the AEC

The framework of the AEC focuses on the needs of the ASEAN business community. It mentions
narrowing the development gap, but does not acknowledge the structural underpinnings that hinder
equality and human development in the region. It uses the perspective of Formal Equality, where gender


281
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
282
Discussion with Experts, Nathalie Africa Verceles
283
Focus Group Discussion

73

equality is perceived as providing opportunities, but not answering to the distinct needs of different
peoples, particularly of marginalized women.

AEC Blueprint 2025 is missing a gender-sensitive framework on transformative equality that is inclusive,
substantive, and addresses structural gender barriers and discrimination in ASEAN. The AEC also lacks an
enforcement mechanism that would ensure de facto equality in the region and translate to enhancing
the economic livelihoods of Southeast Asian people, particularly women—a typical dilemma of ASEAN
Declarations and treaties.

One reason for the AEC Blueprint’s lack of CEDAW’s Transformative Equality approach as compared to
the ASCC and the APSC is the Economic Pillar’s estrangement from the two other Pillars, and the lack of
regular consultations with civil society networks, rights organizations, and those who would have a
direct impact to the AEC’s development projects. There are mentions of CSO talks and CSR initiatives,
but they are not articulated in the Blueprint itself, and we have yet to see the impact of these
programmes.

Moreover, the three Targets rarely include women in their approach, and if they do, it is a single vision
of a Southeast Asian woman: a micro-entrepreneur. The Targets therefore do not include other
dimensions of gender and does not acknowledge the intersectionality of gender-related issues. Thus,
the AEC entirely excludes LBT, indigenous women, rural women, female food producers, women
workers in the informal sector and women with disabilities from the ASEAN Integration discourse and
from the concept of the “ASEAN woman”.

8.1. An Androcentric Bias? Invisibility of Gender in the AEC Blueprint



As a whole, the AEC appears to reflect an androcentric bias with the predominance of androcentric
language throughout its plans. The AEC blueprint has also not made it evident as to how it will facilitate
women’s equal access and participation in the project for the large part of its targets. There is
inadequate attention to the obstacles to women's participation and access to information on its
projects. The seeming “inclusive” language has in effect, subsumed and concealed visibility of women in
economic plans and programs. With this invisibility, it would be difficult to determine whether benefits
accrue to women community members

The mainstream economics literature is gender blind and that view trade as gender-neutral, hence there
is an exclusion of gender considerations in studies and policymaking regarding trade in Southeast
Asia.284 This is related to the fact that advocates of neoliberal economic policy generally claim that trade
liberalization is a prerequisite for national reform, but it does not necessarily translate to gender rights
in the Southeast Asian region.285

The limited understanding of women has allowed elites to frame addressing women’s issues as a vehicle
in which to achieve their concerns with economic growth and social and political stability. ASEAN’s
rather conservative view of women confines women to “private/domestic” sphere. ASEAN is focused on

284
Chandra, Alexander C., Lucky A. Lontoh and Ani Margawati. “Beyond Barriers: The Gender Implications of Trade
Liberalization in Southeast Asia.” International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2010) 10-11.
https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/beyond_barriers_gender_southeast_asia.pdf
285
Chandra, Lontoh and Margawati, “Beyond Barriers”, 15.

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a conservative agenda of economic and social cohesion, which is why gender concerns are framed
within that context—the advancement of women was institutionally and aspirationally linked to the
realization of ASEAN goals in economic and social cohesion. DEFINE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COHESION

It is not clear how the AEC blueprint, and the three targets in particular, will not reinforce discriminatory
stereotypes on women. While there were notable female economists and policymakers in the realm of
trade, women were often the subject of exploitation to advance these policies

8.2. ASEAN’s Formal and Protectionist Equality Approaches and Lack of


Substantive Equality Approach

Formal equality assumes that to provide “equal” opportunities or jobs for men and women would
eventually help ASEAN achieve gender equality in the region. However, this approach is insufficient
because it does not focus on the actual outcome, whether or not women have equal access to and
opportunities for capacity and skill development, training and promotions with their male colleagues,
and whether those women are accepted as leaders. Neoliberalism promotes “formal equality” in the
context of competition and increasing the pool of available labor, but does not support the
redistribution of social and economic rights or the transformative character of substantive equality for
women.

The formal or traditional approach to gender equality is to treat men and women the same, without
acknowledging the systemic and intersectional dimension of oppression and exclusion. While ASEAN
member states have commitments for women’s rights in their regional and domestic laws, the dominant
notion of the superiority of men over women and similarly constructed notions of women’s sexuality
and of masculinity underpin the formal and protectionist approach in domestic legislation.

ASEAN has made steps in including intersectionality perspectives in its Action Plans especially in the
ASCC Vision 2025. Although states who have ratified and acceded to CEDAW are obligated to submit
their reports on the status and improvement of women’s lives, most ASEAN member countries are not
diligently observing their obligations.

Overall, ASEAN does not appear to realize that women empowerment, gender mainstreaming, gender
equality, and equal opportunity are all interrelated concerns that must be imbibed by the organization.
In order for ASEAN to be “serious” about women’s rights, then it must remove the vague and informal
arrangement it has with CEDAW, and establish an official, common stand for women’s rights that uses
the substantive equality approach.

8.3. “De Jure” than “De Facto” Equality: Gaps in Implementation



Although considerable institutional progress has been made, actual implementation and results on the
ground are still out of reach for ordinary ASEAN peoples. Gaps in implementation reflect issues in the
measurability and enforceability of ASEAN women’s rights instruments and mechanisms.

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The institutional mechanisms of ASEAN have failed and will continue fail to truly address women’s issues
if it does not undergo genuine reform. In this sense ASEAN regional integration and harmonization of
regional human rights laws may also fail if nation-states cannot abide by international and regional
norms and principles and continue to emphasize sovereignty concerns. Thus, the human rights
framework of ASEAN as well as the blueprints of the Three Pillars in the ASEAN Vision 2025 will become
yet another array of non-binding treaties. The institution of ASEAN itself is problematized and it will be
difficult to measure if the development of the ASEAN Community will truly imbibe a rights-oriented
approach.

Substantive equality has not been achieved, even though laws and special policies exist to advance or
improve women’s opportunities, if these have not really and effectively resulted in women having the
opportunities that men have in all spheres of life.

9. Recommendations
The recommendations in main encourages the AEC to adopt a gender-sensitive framework that is
inclusive, substantive, and addresses structural gender barriers and discrimination in economy:

a) Integrate gender, women’s rights, intersectionality, and inclusiveness perspectives


with particular attention to, and ensuring meaningful participation and
representation of women CSOs especially from marginalized sectors in the
implementation of the AEC blueprint and its respective targets and action plans, at
the regional and country-level
b) Conduct further comprehensive study and systematic repository of data on:
• Review of the whole AEC blueprint including the select targets to assess
gender-responsiveness of the AEC action plans and interventions
• Consolidated/ regional sex disaggregated data on:
o employment (types of occupation)
o no. of women in management position in the company/ industry
o wages for same work
o land ownership/ land title certificate
o access to credit, technology including information and technology,
technical trainings, and other economic assistance and programs
o incidence of sexual violence in workplace/ services covered in the AFAS
and MRA (engineering services, nursing services, architecture, land
surveying, medical practice, dental practice, accountancy, and tourism)
c) Develop and uphold civil society engagement: Establish institutionalized spaces and
platforms within AEC bodies for women CSOs and marginalized group's meaningful
participation and regular engagement
• Create / strengthen mechanisms for CSO participation and engagement
especially from women and marginalized groups
• Conduct regular dialogues, consultations with women, marginalized groups
d) Strengthen accessibility of information and programs of the AEC – create awareness
raising programs to address awareness deficit and ensure information reaches
grassroots community
e) Strengthen regulatory and accountability mechanisms to monitor and investigate
violations to women especially from marginalized sectors such as women with

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disabilities, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women, and indigenous
women; and implement adequate and effective remedies for violations of women’s
and workers’ rights.
• Implement a mechanism to ensure cross-checking (in implementation,
monitoring, and evaluation) of the AEC from a rights-based approach
• Develop gender indicators in monitoring and evaluation –looking into
compliance in relation to gender-responsiveness of AEC blueprint and its
implementation
f) Align ASEAN economic policy with international and regional instruments – To
ensure a rights-based approach in the implementation and review of progress in the
AEC, ASEAN’s policy instruments should align with existing international and
regional agreements to which AMS are signatories. These include:
• The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW);
• The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015); ASCC obligations, i.e. the
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the ASEAN Region
(2004), Declaration of the Advancement of Women in the ASEAN Region(1988);
the Declaration against Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children
(2004 and 2013), ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the
Rights of Migrant Workers, which includes the right of collective bargaining for
all workers (2006), and
• ASEAN Declaration on the transition from informal to formal employment
(2016), among others.###

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