Samarkand, Uzbekistan – May 13, 2024

The Asia Women’s Forum 2024, held in the historic city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, marked a significant milestone in the quest for women’s economic, social, and political empowerment across Asia. Organized by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, with the support of UN Women, the forum gathered an impressive assembly of delegates, including senior government officials, women parliamentarians, representatives from civil society organizations, academia, business leaders, social activists, and experts from more than 40 countries.

A Landmark Event for Women’s Empowerment

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s initiative, announced at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, aimed to harness the potential of women leaders in the region, foster experience sharing, and expand women’s participation in governance and society. This event also served as a bridge between the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) and the upcoming Beijing Platform for Action +30, reflecting Uzbekistan’s commitment to transformative change for women and girls.

The forum’s theme, “Regional Approach in Issues of Women’s Economic, Social, and Political Empowerment,” emphasized the importance of a collective effort in tackling gender inequality. With Asia home to 60.6% of the world’s population, and women constituting 48.8% of this demographic, the forum’s discussions were timely and crucial.

Championing Regional Cooperation

Ayumi Moore Aoki, Founder and CEO of Women in Tech® Global, played a pivotal role in the forum. She moderated Session 4: “Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Ensuring Women’s Access to Quality Education, Science, Digital Technologies and Expanding their Participation in Innovation Activities.” 

The session featured distinguished speakers:
Hilola Umarova, Minister of Preschool and School Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, India
Susan Chemerai Anding, Member of the Senate of the Parliament of Malaysia, Member of the Special Select Committee on Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption
Somia Djacta, Representative of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to UNESCO
Dr. Amina al-Hajri, Director General of the Department of Cultural, Social and Family Affairs, Organization of Islamic Cooperation
Gulmira Okoeva, Head of Department of the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Migration, Kyrgyz Republic
Khadija Karimi Alavije, Director General for International Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Women and Family Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Fostering Dialogue and Innovation

The session delved into strategies to enhance regional cooperation, ensuring women’s access to quality education and participation in science, digital technologies, and innovation. The discussions underscored the need for collaborative efforts to overcome barriers and create opportunities for women in these critical fields. By sharing best practices and innovative solutions, the session aimed to inspire actionable steps towards gender equality.

A Call to Action

The forum emphasized that advancing women’s rights is not just a matter of fairness but a necessity for sustainable development. As UN Women’s Executive Director, Sima Bahous, stated in her opening remarks, “The Asian Women’s Forum offers a great momentum to spark the change we need to advance the rights of women and girls in this region and beyond.”