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Women play significant role in Brunei


By P Marilyn

Members of the panel.

Guest of honour delivering his speech.

Datin Hjh Adina. - PHOTOS: P MARILYN
The role of women in Brunei Darussalam is significant as they play a major part in contributing not only towards their families but also to the country's development.

This observation was made by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Dato Major General (Rtd) Hj Awang Mohammad bin Hj Daud who was the guest of honour at the Asean Women's Day celebration, which was held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas yesterday.

"As a mother, women play the main role of instilling in their children good values and manners, shaping them to be individuals who will constantly uphold good morals and ethics, and to shun away from immoral activities," he said.

Asean Women's Day was commemorated yesterday as a show of appreciation towards women in recognition of their role towards the development of the country.

The minister pointed out that women in Brunei have a special position in society, as they enjoy equal opportunities in terms of education, medical treatment, social welfare and employment.

"In terms of economic development, statistics in 2005 showed that women are significant contributors as they make up 40 per cent of the workforce in this country," he said, adding that the number of female students in education institutions in the Sultanate outweighs the number of male students.

To protect the welfare and safety of women in the nation, several acts have been passed by the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. This includes Women and Girls Protection Act 1972, 'Perintah Darurat (Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam)', 1999 and 'Perintah Darurat (Perempuan Bersuami)', 1999.

At the national and international level, Brunei acknowledges women's role and entitlement with the signing of 'The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women' in 2006 and the 'Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the Asean Region' in 2004.

In keeping with the country's commitment towards women in Brunei, the minister urged all parties, including government and non-government agencies, to be more sensitive towards issues relating to women, particularly those associated with their rights and safety.

Meanwhile, Department of Community Development Director Datin Hjh Adina bte Othman said that the development of women in Asean is at a good level.

The majority of Asean member countries are positioned at a satisfactory level in the Human Development Index. However, Brunei and Singapore belong to the group of elite countries that have a high human resource development.

Yesterday's event was organised by the Department of Community Development under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Brunei Darussalam Women's Council.

More than 350 women from government agencies and women's association attended the event. Also present were heads of departments, senior government officers, as well as penghulus and heads of villages.

There was also a special forum on legislation issues that involve women particularly in terms of domestic violence and livelihood issues.

Members of the panel included Ustaz Awg Hj Johar bin Hj Mohammad from Syariah Magistrate Court; Datin Hjh Fatimah bte Dato Seri Setia Abang Hj Razali, President of the Women's Council; Chief Inspector Hjh Halimah binti Hj Nayan, Criminal Investigation Unit, Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit, Royal Brunei Police Force; and, Hjh Siti Aynah bte Hj Md Yaakub, Counselling Officer, Department of Community Development.

The Royal Brunei Police Force, Department of Syariah Affairs, Health Services Department and the Department of Community Development also participated in an exhibition.

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