The Asean Conferderation of Women’s Organisations and the Vietnam Women’s Union

The Asean Confederation of Women’s Organisations (ACWO) is one of the largest regional non-governmental women’s organization. ACWO was established on 20 November 1981 in Jakarka (Indonesia) by the participation of the 5 founding organization members in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

By the year 2000, ACWO comprises 10 National Women’s Organizations in the ten ASEAN countries[1] who voluntarily work in concerted efforts towards the full integration of women in development and in the implementation of strategies and programs adopted by the ASEAN governments, for the enhancement of women’s participation in both national and regional progress. ACWO funds mainly come from annual membership and contributions by organization members.


Since 1985, ACWO has joined UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)at the consultative status category II which enables ACWO to participate in important UN discussions relating to women such as Commission o­n the Status of Women and the evaluation meetings o­n the implementation of the Convention o­n the Elimination All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


Every 2 years, ACWO holds its General Assembly to review the activities during the last period and works out the direction for the coming period. From its inception, ACWO has close ties and working relations with ASEAN Committee o­n Women (known as ASEAN Women’s Program/ASEAN Subcommittee o­n Women). Up to now, ACWO has convened 10 General Assemblies with different themes reflecting regional women’s common issues and ASEAN women’s concerns. Opening New Millennium, ACWO identified the theme of the 9th General Assembly (May 2000, Malaysia) as “The New Millennium – ASEAN Women Taking Stock and Moving Forward” and the theme of the 10th General Assembly (July 2002, Singapore) as “Globalization - Economic, social and political empowerment”. In this Assembly, ACWO also set up a theme for the next 11th Assembly (July 2004, Thailand) as “Elimination of Violence Against Women”.


As its previous General Assemblies, the 10th Assembly adopted ACWO Plan of Actions for 2002 - 2004 promote women’s advancement in socio- economic and political fields. At this Assembly, ACWO Board members are rotated to the National Council of Women in Thailand as the President, the National Council of Women’s Organizations in Brunei Darussalam as the Vice President, the National Council of Women’s Organizations in the Philippines as the Secretary General and the Vietnam Women’s Union as the Treasure. Other six country members hold position as Director ranging from 1 to 6.


In the 10th General Assembly, at the initiative of Dr. Anamah Tan, ACWO President (2000 – 2002), ACWO Board by consensus decided to confer the ACWO-ASEAN Women’s Day Award to o­ne woman leader to recognize and promote women’s significant contributions to the welfare of women in their respective countries and in the region. The 2002 ASEAN-ACWO Women’s Day Award has been conferred to Ibu Anindyati Sulasikin Murpratomo for her devotion and great contribution to the women’s movement in Indonesia and in the region as well. Ibu Murpratomo has been very active in various women’s, children’s and social organizations for more than 50 years. She was the former State Minister for the Role of Women in Indonesia and Chairperson of the Indonesian Women’s Congress and President of Indonesian Association of Women Patriots and many other important positions. She was o­ne of the founders of the ACWO and served as its First President between 1981–1983. She is now Chairperson of the Commission o­n Politics of the Supreme Advisory Council of the Republic of Indonesia and advisor to Women’s Caucus o­n Politics.


The Vietnam Women’s Union has officially joined ACWO since June 1996 at its 6th General Assembly in the Philippines. Though as a new ACWO member, VWU actively participates in all ACWO activities. Attending ACWO General Assemblies at different positions as speakers, chairpersons, rapporteurs, etc, VWU representatives share experiences in promoting women’s participation in politics and socio-economic development. In May 1997, o­n the occasion of the 8th National Vietnamese Women’s Congress, the VWU convened ASEAN Seminar o­n “Women’s participation in Politics” in Hanoi with the participation of all ACWO member representatives.


VWU does promote not o­nly its role in regional activities but also its bilateral partnership with various ACWO organization members such as Lao Women’s Union, Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations; National Council of Women of Thailand and National Council of Women’s Organizations of Malaysia through high ranking delegation exchange visits.


With its great efforts, the Vietnam Women’s Union has accomplished its role of a ACWO country member, thus contributing to the promotion of the regional integration by Vietnam for Equality, Development and Peace.

[1] Council of Women of Bruinei Darussalam (1981); National Council of Women’s Organisations of Indonesia (1981); National Council of Women’s Organisations of Malaysia (1981); National Council of Women of the Phillipines (1981); Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (1981); National Council of Women of Thailand (1981); Vietnam Women’s Union (1996); Lao Women’s Union (1998); Myanmar Maternal & Child Welfare Association (1998);National Council Cambodia Women Organisation (2000);.