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In efforts to tap into the full potential of women entrepreneurs, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is set to organize for the first time a trade promotion delegation exclusively composed of female entrepreneurs this year.

The delegation is scheduled to visit Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia as part of TAITRA’s efforts to help women better explore foreign markets and gain a greater role in Taiwan’s foreign trade in line with the government’s policy and a World Trade Organization (WTO) declaration, TAITRA said.

The three countries are covered by the government’s New Southbound Policy, which has been broached by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen after she assumed office in May 2016, to boost two-way trade and investment with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The reason why these countries were selected is simply because there have been relatively few promotions targeting them, TAITRA said.

If satisfactory results are obtained, more delegations of women entrepreneurs will be formed to explore other overseas market, said Chiu Hui-li, chief of TAITRA’s Market Development Department.

The Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment was launched in a WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires in December 2017 so that members can collaborate on making trade policies more gender-responsive, share experiences to encourage women’s participation in trade, and collect data to better understand connections between trade and gender.

It was the first time in the WTO’s history that its members and observers endorsed a collective initiative to remove barriers for women and foster their economic empowerment.

In 2018, there were 1.466 small- and medium-sized businesses in Taiwan, around 37 percent of which were owned and run by women.

Meanwhile, TAITRA is also seeking to organize a delegation of indigenous business people to visit New Zealand, based on an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) inked by the two countries in 2013.

In 2019, products manufactured by Taiwan’s indigenous people were showcased for the first time at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington for two weeks, paving the way for future exchanges, according to TAITRA.

Products made by Taiwan’s indigenous people were also displayed at the Taiwan Expo held last year in other countries covered in the New Southbound Policy, and such exhibitions will continue into this year at the Taipei International Food Show in June, Kaohsiung Food Show in October, Foodex Japan 2020 in March, and FHA-Food & Beverage Asia 2020 in Singapore from March 31- April 3, among others, it said.

Source: Taiwan Times

Sri Lankan beauty queen and Mrs. World pageant titleholder Caroline Jurie, has pledged her support to the country’s less privileged children. She plans to use her new-found fame to inspire and empower children in the island nation.

Caroline Jurie, a mother of a two-year-old girl, hailing from a middle-class family from Kandana, a suburb of capital Colombo, has always aspired to be a model, though she had never walked on a ramp, till she competed for the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant. 

Jurie has also launched a social project called “Be You”, to help children suffering from mental illnesses. In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Colombo, Jurie said that it is important to “always be you and not change yourself despite criticism”.

“Always be who you are and don’t be afraid,” she said. She hopes that her life story can contribute to the social movement to encourage youth and children to pursue their passion and goals, without being victimized by social norms and constraints.

Jurie represented her country at the Mrs. World 2020, a beauty competition for married women, held on Dec. 2019 at the grand finale in Las Vegas, U.S.

Soon after returning to Colombo with the crown, she hosted a Christmas Party, inviting underprivileged children and those orphaned in the Easter bombings last year in April. The event brought together over 250 children, who enjoyed snacks, games, and gifts.

“My main intention of this campaign is to motivate youth especially, girls to expand the traditional and cultural boundaries which restrict creativity and free-thinking,” she said.

She wants to continue with the “Be You” project, even after giving up the crown. She aims to target children all over Sri Lanka, especially orphans and those with mental illness.

“My ultimate aim is to uplift and empower all children in my country, especially the less fortunate,” Jurie told Anadolu Agency.

A Sri Lankan Health Ministry report in 2017 had disclosed that around 7% of youth in the island nation attempt to commit suicide, indicating that behavioral problems were appearing a serious challenge.

Title did not come on a Platter

Jurie said she has discovered an alternate way to heal mentally ill children.

“When children suffer from such illnesses, they are asked to take medicine. But I have found another way to cure and that is to talk to them. Let them share their problems, and also use techniques of meditation and yoga. Ultimately, it is not only about medicine, but about using love and care, “she said.

Sharing her experience, Sri Lanka’s most glamorous woman said many children, mostly orphans are reticent. “Since they do not have parents, they do not express themselves. But it is only a matter of time. When you sit, start talking and loving them, they do become confident and communicative,” she said.

After completing her education, Jurie had moved to Dubai to pursue a career as a sales executive, where she met her soul-mate Nishantha Deepal. She gave up her career to pursue her dream of becoming a beauty queen.

The title did not come on a platter. While she sailed through the national pageant easily, it was a daunting task to compete at the international level. First, it was a lack of sponsors and then visa issues with the U.S. mission became obstacles. The U.S. Embassy rejected her visa twice. But ultimately her steadfastness succeeded. She returned to Colombo with a title.

Although her “Be You” project focuses only on children living in Sri Lanka, Jurie said that she is willing to expand it to cover other countries.

“All I want is to bring a smile to the faces of disadvantaged children.”

Jurie plans to spend time with children orphaned in the Easter attacks. “Those children need love, and I want to spend time with them and make them feel loved,” she added.

Star Media Group’s Esther Ng was honoured at the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards in the Media and Communications category.

The company’s chief content officer was bestowed the award by the Malaysia Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association (MCWEA) for her experience and work in the Star Media Group’s transformation to a digital-first media outlet.

Ng said it was good that the achievements of women in the media industry were acknowledged and honoured.

“I stand somewhat alone in this, in that there are so few female editors-in-chief among the main media in the country.

“It’s time, not just to sit up but stand up for ourselves. We need to mark and celebrate each milestone we achieve. In the tough and challenging world that is the media industry, editors of mainstream media need to stand together in combating fake news.

“Real news has become a necessity,” she said when met at the presentation ceremony at the Sunway Hotel Resort and Spa on Tuesday.

This year marks the second edition of the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards, which was founded last year with the aim of promoting women leadership in business in the region.

MCWEA president Datin Sri Jessie Wong said the awards honour outstanding women leaders who play a significant role in shaping Asia’s business landscape in the next few decades.

“These winners represent the diversity within Asia’s business landscape and the awards recognise these businesswomen as role models for their excellent achievements and contributions towards the industry and nation-building.

“MCWEA seeks to encourage, enhance and empower businesswomen in contributing towards the development of community, industries and the building of national economy,” she said in her speech.

Other winners include Sunway Group exco member Susan Cheah who bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award and Miss Fashion World president Isabelle Liow who took home the MCWEA most outstanding contribution award.

Source: The Jakarta Post

The 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment, jointly produced by China Women’s University, an institution affiliated with All-China Women’s Federation and academically administered by the Ministry of Education and Ali Research of Alibaba group, was released at the 2019 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship, looking at “how the world is beautiful because of women” as Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group’s board of directors, said.

The report outlines how women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of economic and technological development eye the international market by allocating and integrating resources globally in the era of 4.0. It also details how female entrepreneurs who have never left their villages and families break the boundaries of time and space through the internet, contributing to and sharing the technology and economic benefits in the digital era.

As shown in the report, the digital economy is empowering women’s entrepreneurship and employment, including simplifying the technology selection process, providing “toolbox”-like digital services and integrating platform resources, helping women entrepreneurs break through the constrictions of space and time and participate in the process of innovation. In addition, the digital economy is helping to transform the employment model from “industrial thinking” to “digital thinking” while extending the definitions and boundaries of employment.

The report also undertook an analysis of research data on female entrepreneurs, and took a close look at what the internet offered in terms of the female entrepreneurship and employment across the countries on five continents.

In fact, digital platforms and women now depend on and support each other and will achieve mutual progress and development in the future.

More information is available in the 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment.

Source: PR Newswire

  • Palestinian woman preparing for an exam to become a qualified female Palestinian truck driver. 
  • ‘(Society) has changed a little. There have been some developments, but not enough’

As the 30-ton truck weaves through the crowded Palestinian streets, groups of men stop and gawp at the diminutive figure of Dalia Al-Darawish in a purple headscarf seated behind the wheel.

Darawish is preparing for an exam to become one of only a handful of qualified female Palestinian truck drivers, a test the 26-year-old sees as about more than just driving.

“It is symbolic,” she said. “It shows we can do anything — that as a woman you can work, drive a trailer or whatever.”

The mother-of-two is among several Palestinian women pushing boundaries in the traditionally conservative city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, amid a growing assertiveness of women’s rights.

Darawish said she had faced criticism from both sexes as she trained, but the men were far more vocal.

“They are some who supported, a minority,” she said. “But then there are people shouting in the street, ‘No, why are you driving a trailer?!’”

“Whenever I made any mistake you would find men shouting, ‘It’s impossible (for you)’.”

At the driving center, she shakes slightly as her black-moustached examiner Issam Bedawi explains the test.

After briefly demonstrating her ability to detach and re-attach the trailer, the two clamber up into the carriage and drive off.

Recent months have seen protests in the West Bank after a 21-year-old woman was allegedly killed by her family members after posting a photo with her soon-to-be fiancé on Instagram.

The demonstrators are demanding more protection for women, but also a more prominent political movement for women’s rights.

Palestinian women still often give up their careers to care for children.

A World Bank study last year found that 58 percent of skilled women between 25 and 34 were unemployed, compared to 23 percent of men.

The general unemployment rate for women (44 percent) is double that of men, according to official Palestinian statistics.

Wafaa Al-Adhami had long dreamt of being an artist, but didn’t have the opportunity to study growing up.

But five years ago and with the kids older, she returned to her passion, studying hours of videos about artists on YouTube.

“Painting and art courses are expensive and I had no time,” she said. “So I loved educating myself.”

“Every artist has their own style, and I wanted to find mine,” she said.

From her living room table with an array of children passing through, she developed a specific layering technique for her work, pouring the paint onto the canvas before sculpting and manipulating it.

The result is a 3D texture that she says is unique among Palestinian artists.

Her inspiration ranges from Palestinian icons such as the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem to more Jackson Pollock-inspired surrealism.

A recent 40-work exhibition was a big hit.

Elsewhere in the city, 31-year-old Asia Amer has set up what she believes is Hebron’s first women-only restaurant.

The idea behind the Queen Restaurant, she said, is to give women a space to feel at home.

Those who normally wear the hijab can remove the headscarf if they wish.

“I felt that it was the right of women to have a place they can relax in — where there are no restrictions or people watching her,” she said.

“I am proof that Palestinian women don’t just stay at home to cook and look after the children.”

Back at the driving test center, Darawish pulls the trailer to a stop and waits nervously as Bedawi tallies up the score.

“I’m happy to say she passed,” he announces. “Everything I asked of her during the test she did fantastically.”

Darawish doesn’t even know if she will work as a truck driver, as right now she is still looking after her children.

But she said she wanted to help drive change in attitudes.

“(Society) has changed a little. There have been some developments, but not enough,” she said.

“If there had been big movement, men who see a woman driving a trailer would be happy or they wouldn’t say anything at all.”

Arab News

Sport is one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls and Asian women are poised to make their mark in women sports.

On Sunday the 29th of September 2019, Indian women held their host Great Britain to a 1-1 draw in the second match of their Tour of United Kingdom.

India’s Lalremsiami scored the equalizing goal in the 32nd minute after Great Britain had taken an early lead in the match. India was out of the blocks quicker, and earned a couple of penalty corners within the first two minutes. Britain’s custodian Maddie Hinch was at hand to ensure India didn’t get an early lead though.

Soon it was Great Britain, who reciprocated, winning a penalty corner from a swift counter.

Despite a smart save by the Indian defence, an infringement meant the hosts were awarded a penalty stroke, which was duly converted in the 8th minute, giving them a 1-0 lead. It was that slender lead they took into the first break.

Much like the first quarter, it was India again, who took the initiative early in the second period, winning another short corner and Hinch pulled off another save.

In the third quarter, India finally restored parity after Lalremsiami finished off a counter attack to draw the scores level. With both teams locked at a goal apiece and all to play for, the game opened up. Neither the defence caved though as the teams went into the final quarter tied at 1-1.

Indian women are scheduled play their third game on Tuesday, October 1 and all eyes are on Lalremsiami.

The welfare ministry is considering crafting a new law to strengthen the protection of women, including school girls, from sexual exploitation, according to sources.

The law would provide the legal basis for prefectural consulting centers for women, a role currently played by a law that deals primarily with prostitution.

According to the sources, the change would allow the centers to provide more flexible support to a wider range of girls and women, such as those coerced to appear in adult videos. It would also be aimed at high school girls, or joshi kōsei in Japanese, exploited in the so-called JK business to entertain men.

The ministry hopes to introduce the bill during the next ordinary Diet session, which will start early next year, the sources said.

The law against prostitution defines the centers as places to protect and rehabilitate women who may prostitute themselves.

A panel of experts set up by the ministry has called for a review of that narrow definition, saying the current system doesn’t fit the needs of women suffering from other forms of sexual exploitation.

Women being tricked or coerced into appearing in adult videos and schoolgirls being lured into the JK business are seen as major social problems. Starting in 2017, the government has carried out a campaign against sexual exploitation each April.

The prefectural consultation centers for women already provide assistance to victims of domestic violence and many other problems.

The definition “no longer fits the current realities,” a ministry official said.

Under the planned law, the definition of the centers would be rewritten to make it easier to deal with a wider range of exploitation as well as other problems.

The law is expected to include provisions to ensure that the centers work closely with municipalities, public welfare and child consultation centers and nonprofit organizations so they can reach victims unaware of the public assistance available.

Source: Japan Times