Women in Southeast Asian Politics: Struggles and Success

Aaron Joseph Castano, Shaira Joy Fungot, Rica Jane Gardose


The end of World War 2 signalled the demise of European colonialism in Southeast Asia. The independent states that emerged over the decades were committed to gender equality. This paved the way for opportunities giving equal treatment to men and women to participate and be involved in both the societal and political activities of the region. The main goal of this research is to study and compare the similar political struggles faced by the women of the region, to review significant policies championing the role of women in the region’s political sphere, to stress the noteworthy contributions of influential women who have risen through the development of their governments and to conduct analysis on how all these factors affect the past, current and future conditions of the Southeast Asian Countries. Emerging as an empowered and influential woman is never easy for the women of Southeast Asia since several barriers block their way, leading to serious struggles for their political participation in their respective countries. Significant struggles and barriers shared by the countries of the region include: First, the great influence of their respective, traditional, conservative norms which value women less than men; Second, the religious influences brought by their former colonizers which conveyed negative attitudes towards women; Third, the impacts attributed by state-society relations; Fourth, the struggle to gain education, literacy and awareness about politics; Lastly, the time each woman could allocate to join the political sphere. Despite all of the issues, women have never stopped striving to arise as influential women in modern day politics, thus giving inspiration to all women of Southeast Asia. Ranging from advocating independence, women’s empowerment, democracy, and crusading against corruption, these women have made a very big impact upon the world’s ideology that “Men were born as leaders, and women as followers.

Keywords: Women Empowerment, Political Struggles, Democracy

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