Message in Conjunction with International Women’s Day 2021

The position of women as the heart of a family and in supporting the development of the country, the role and contribution of women are very important for socio-economic development and the maintenance of peace and security. Yang Berhormat Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports stated the matter in a message in conjunction with the International Women's Day 2021 that is celebrated on every 8th of March. This year's theme 'Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World' celebrates the extraordinary efforts of women and girls all over the world in forging a future, and aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in a more equitable manner. Yang Berhormat said it is celebrated to appreciate the roles and recognise the achievements of women as we work collectively to drive national progress.

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said the important role of women is clearly seen in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the International Labour Organization, ILO, over 70 per cent of health and social workers globally are women. In Brunei Darussalam, based on the 2019 Labour Force Survey by the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics, woman in Brunei Darussalam make up more than 67 percent of the workforce in the health and social sectors. However, the pandemic has also impacted women more because they have a variety of other roles and responsibilities that need to be balanced, from taking care of children, family members who is ill and also the elderly.

Continued support and commitment towards women is crucial in the post-COVID-19 era, to help ensure the well-being of families and communities, achieve economic progress, and promote greater social development toward national prosperity. The role of women remains relevant, for which women's contributions and leadership have been proven, and have the potential to be fully utilised in together advancing the post-COVID recovery agenda. Yang Berhormat added the pandemic has shown to the world that the unity of women is always intact, not only in the family but also their participation in society.

To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the socio- economic livelihoods of the people in the country, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam introduced measures focused on preserve the welfare and well-being of the public. For example, providing work-from-home and more flexible time arrangements has certainly contributed towards sustaining work-life balance, not only for women but for all who needed it, in the COVID-19 situation. For women who have such multiple responsibilities in caring for the family, in employment or business in this new normal, it is hoped that such measures have contributed towards sustaining their motivation and encouraged them to continue working shoulder-to-shoulder in the community.

Yang Berhormat stated that as Chair of ASEAN 2021, Brunei Darussalam will highlight women's development as one of the deliverables under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar. At the national level, events planned in conjunction with the celebration of Women International is intended to provide a platform for women to share ideas and discuss important issues to women in Brunei Darussalam. The minister added that all of this will be channelled towards the production of a study on women in Brunei Darussalam, as part of efforts to strengthen the Plan of Action for Women, under the National Council on Social Issues.

Source: Radio Television Brunei