The Korea YWCA held the Asia YWCA Regional Meeting at Ewha Womans University from June 26th to 29th under the theme of: “Women Economic Empowerment in Asia”. 120 participants from 12 Asian countries flourished the meeting with conversations that strengthened YWCA Asia’s solidarity. As one family in Christ, the women gathered their hearts in songs of praise and worship each morning. YWCA Hong Kong and Myanmar led the morning worship respectively.

    

A major portion of the meeting was dedicated to sharing current situations of delegated countries. The representatives presented projects that empower women economically and how they are managed under the current governmental and economic situation. Another session was held in which simultaneous workshops opened for delegates to discuss programs about women’s economic capacity building and how the Asian YWCAs could collaborate to make them even more fruitful. In one of the workshops, the representative shared an innovative way of empowering women economically. The project was to educate youth to be care workers for the elderly. As this business has recently been introduced in the country and is bound to grow rapidly, the project seemed to create real changes among the lives of both the youth members of YWCA and the elderly.

During the Youth Forum, twenty-two young women in their 20s held a round table on women’s violence, labor environment, institutional gender discrimination, cultural gender discrimination and women’s bodies. They discussed how those topics are handled in their countries and how they should actively engage into alleviating the problem.

Simultaneously, a general discussion was held to discuss what the Asian women could do. The participants discussed matters such as creating a single platform where Asian YWCAs could share their stories, internship exchange programs, and to create a fund that aid each other.

     

On the 2nd day, delegates first visited Nowon Women’s Human Resources Development Center which provides various trainings mainly for women to achieve vocational certification acknowledged by the government. The participants actively asked questions and compared the Korean system to their own. Then they moved to Ewha 52nd Avenue, a place where an abandoned area was transformed into a hub for startups.
   

On the last day, they had a visit to the Demilitarized Zone to learn more about Korea, a divided country. Through the visit, they learned how the peace in the Korean peninsula is interconnected with peace in Asia. Furthermore, National YWCA of Korea proposed a resolution to the upcoming World Council on the issue of Establishment of Permanent Peace Treaty on the Korean Peninsula in order to extend the efforts for peace movements together with the members of YWCA worldwide.

2019 Asia YWCA Regional Meeting was a place of celebration as the participants dined together, exchanged gifts, and presented performances representing the countries’ traditions. Despite the fact that people came from diverse cultural backgrounds, the members opened their hearts to enjoy the diversity. For the next YWCA Regional Meeting, Japan, Hong Kong, and India volunteered to be the hosting country. It is a joy just to think about what kind of collaborative conclusions and memories will be created there.

“Participants during Culture Festival Night”

Through the 2019 Asia YWCA Regional Meeting, the following resolutions have been made: 1) Sharing of Economic Competitiveness Issues for Women in Countries. 2) Establishing a partnership to share Korea YWCA vocational training know-hows through Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other continuous links, 3) a solidarity calling for the ratification of a quality job agreement (ILO No. 189) for domestic workers, 4) the confirmation of support for Asia YWCA and commitment to call for world YWCA resolution to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, and finally 6) Establishing the Networking of Young Women in Asia YWCA (Sharing Women’s Youth Issues, operating the Asia Booth of the World YWCA General Assembly, joint Campaigns of Asia YWCA Young Women).

Article by YWCA of Korea.