back to main page
other topics

26 August 1998
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The 3rd East Asian Women's Forum took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 23-26 August 1998 with the participation of  320 delegates of women's NGOs of China, Hongkong, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea and Taiwan, countries and regions of East Asia.

Participants heard reports from 6 countries and regions on the developments in women's situations over the past two years since the 2nd East Asian Women's Forum in Seoul, 1996. Intensive and focused exchange of views followed in workshops.

Forum participants agreed that the advancement of women in the context of the ongoing Asian financial and economic crisis was greatly impeded by increased unemployment, poverty, discrimination and violence against women. They expressed grave concern over the fact that the effects of globalization, structural adjustment and current economic crisis left women with greater disadvantages such as layoffs and casualization of jobs.

It was stated that any discrimination against women, in particular with regard to access to resources, employment and participation in political dsecison-making is a human rights violation and should not be tolerated.

Much attention was paid to the situation of rural women, whose access to financial and basic social services, information and other resources remains highly inadequate.

Participants expressed grave concern over the continued violence against women which in its extreme form is manifested by women- and girl-trafficking and rape. They reconfirmed that it is an issue which requires determined actions on the part of governments and civil societies.

Participants recognized that there exists a great gap between de jure and de facto gender equality. The governments need to take effective measures towards the implementation of their commitments under the Beijing Platform for Action.

They emphasized the necessity of promoting international human rights mechanisms so that they will protect the rights and interests of women.

Recognizing the increased capacities of women's NGOs in the region, the participants found it essential to continue networking and taking concerted action where necessary.

Proceeding from the discussions and findings of the Forum, the Participants:

* Urge Governments to develop and implement effective policies and programmes to provide better protection to women and to promote their livelihoods, particularly in the midst of economic crises and globalization.

* Urge Governments and employers in the region to commit themselves to the standards advocated by ILO, CEDAW and other international instruments with regard to the creation of desirable working conditions and opportunities for women.

* Urge Governments to create environments which will enable women to access financial services and training and education in business management and administration.

* Urge Governments of East Asia to ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in view of the plight of migrant women in their respective territories and the need to protect their own citizens seeking better employment in other countries.

* Urge Governments of East Asia to ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court in order to provide a long-needed mechanism to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity including those committed against the life, health and dignity of women. In this regard we recall and condemn military sexual slavery and violence against women and other unprotected groups in armed conflict and war in the entire Asian region.

* Urge relevant authorities, educators, media professionals and all families to reform educational and media programmes and family traditions regarding women with new messages and attitudes enforcing gender equality.

* Appeal to the political parties as well as women-voters to support introduction of the quota system and monitoring system to ensure women's right to equal participation and representation in political decision making.

* Welcome the initiative of the representatives of women's NGOs at this Forum to implement specific joint activities at national and regional levels in the field such as capacity building, CEDAW watch, women's economic empowerment, violence against women, reproductive health, sexuality and sexual rights of women, promotion of the interests of disadvantaged women.

* Decide that the 4th East Asian Women's Forum will be held in Taiwan in the year 2000. We hope that our sisters from North Korea, Macao and Far Eastern Region of Russia will be able to participate in our next Forum.

  Action Plan  to 2000
Promotion of the Decisions of the 3rd EAWF Each and every women's NGO represented at the Forum shall take action to inform their governments and communities of the spirit and decisions of this regional women's meeting 
Information Communication Technology for Women's Empowerment in East Asia There shall be regional activities to establish an electronic information flow system for the visibility of East Asian women
Young Women Leaders Project There shall be regional activities aimed at providing civic education and political leadership skills training to girls and young women
Women Candidate Development Programme There shall be regional activities aimed at providing support to actual and potential political women-leaders
Marginalized Women's Rights and Concerns There shall be regional activities to protect and promote the rights of marginalized women, including the differently abled, the elderly, lesbians and single mothers. Work will be conducted to ensure preparations for a separate workshop on this topic at the 4th EAWF in the year 2000
Women's Action for Economic Empowerment There shall be regional networking  to strengthen women's economic and business knowledge and skills
Supporting Action Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery in December 2000 in Tokyo shall be supported by East Asian women.