New Millenium, New Rules: Former
President Corazon Aquino,
Malaysian parliamentarian Wan Azizah Ismail, conference convenor
Irene Santiago, and former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani sign up.
Popovska is the Deputy Minister of Development of Macedonia, a former communist state
under the Yugoslav republic. But when she arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International
Airport for this weeks Global Forum of Women Political Leaders, she was held by
airport authorities for 30 minutes. Reason: She was from a "restricted country."
was just part of the nightmare. On her way to Manila, she was also held in Slovenina,
prevented from buying food for her seven-hour wait for her connecting flight, because
airport officials there didnt consider as among the "right documents" her
"I have a
position, Im supposed to have power, and yet I was treated like
international criminal. How much humiliation do ordinary Macedonian women have to suffer
on the same circumstance? Is it our fault, the womens fault, that our country was
forced to go to war?" she pointed out when she told her story to CyberDyaryo.
decided to set aside personal grudges and decided to stay for the forum. This is because
like all other women who attended the forum at the Philippine International Convention
Center from January 17 to 19, she wanted to explore ways to help women in her country
attain equality with the men.
convenor Irene Santiago, "to review new rules women leaders should pursue in the new
millenium" is "not (necessarily) about outsmarting the men
putting a little reason in the world
to make the world less narrow-minded, less
brutal, less prejudiced, less ungiving, less dangerous."
are the ideas of women in politics, civil society, the private sector, and the academe on
how to achieve equality with the male species:
Popovska, Deputy Minister of Development, Macedonia: "In my country, the most
important thing the women need is economic opportunities."
Gordon, board member of the Technical Education and Skills Development Training Authority,
Philippines: "The challenges facing women today are access to finance, technology,
markets, information and training. Education and training are the doors that will not only
open opportunities but will equip women to deal with these opportunities, thus leading to
her economic empowerment."
Abruzzi, executive chair, International Womens Federation of Commerce and Industry,
Australia: A successful partnership between government and the private sector is a
"possible dream," but getting there will be a "nightmare."
Aquino, former president, Philippines: Women, as keepers of the values of the family and
society, play an important role in politics. This is because "it is a job men and
women can and should do together, in complementarity, just like they should in the
Daw Aung Sau Suu
Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate (in a videotaped address): Women leaders have more compassion
than men do because they are the nurturers of children. She envisions a future that is
"so caring, with not much distinction between leaders and the citizenry."
former congresswoman, Brazil: Affirmative actions in health, education, and poverty
alleviation should be put in place to overcome historical inequities between men and
Dr. Wan Azizah
Ismail, Member of the Parliament, Malaysia: The high visibility of women occupying public
office in Asia is a strong argument against the belief that ideological or psychological
impediments are so great to enable women to actively participate in governance.
"Indeed, there are obstacles. But these are not insurmountable. The quest for
democracy will remain high in these womens agenda."
Keyuraphan, Member of Parliament, Thailand: To earn her political power, a woman
"must know how to turn crisis into opportunity."
Enhthuya, Member of Parliament, Mongolia: To inspire women to participate in governance,
they should be exposed to inspiring stories of great women leaders. "While getting
support from international networks, leaders-in-waiting should also use and gather
strength from new international treaties and agreements that uphold womens
participation in politics."