"We heard a lot about women`s movement in Indonesia and we would like to have more chances to learn from your experience," President of National Council of African Women (NCAW) Mapula Nkomo noted during interview with Antara here on Wednesday.
Nkomo had arrived in Yogyakarta on Wednesday to attend the 35th International Council of Women (ICW) General Assembly and related events from September 13 to 18. She leads a delegation of ten women from South Africa.
Among others, Nkomo said that women`s participation in politic in Indonesia is relatively higher than in South Africa. Particularly, she mentioned the first woman who took the Indonesia`s presidency Megawati Soekarnoputri, as well as women`s minimum quota in the parliament that was mandated by the law.
"We never been had a women president, or even a special ministry for women empowerment like yours," she noted.
At present, Nkomo said that South Africa has so-called transition era for women, where their role in public is growing, but at the same time we still need to deal with stereotype that women`s role is only in domestic.
"I don`t agree with that. We, women, can do both well as we have the capacity just like what men`s have. All we need is to exercise it, however it is still a big challenge that needs to be constantly addressed," she noted, adding that the effort could be double in the South African rural areas, where they still apply a very strong patriarchal system.
Up till Wednesday evening, there were 20 delegations of ICW`s members -- including Indonesia, that had arrived in Yogyakarta to attend the ICW`s general assembly, namely South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Fiji, the Philippines, Finland, India, South Korea, Lebanon, Malta, Papua New Guinea, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Nigeria, and Taiwan.
Aside from the various plenary sessions, the event will also be featuring a number of expert speakers in its discussion panels.
There will be at least four discussion panels, with themes that are derived from the main one, `Transforming Society through Women`s Empowerment`, featuring women figures who are experts in their respective fields, including Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Rini Soemarno, Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Akiko Yamanaka, the ICW`s permanent representative to the United Nations Mohinder Watson, as well as Malaysian higher education figure Syarifah Hapsah.
The 35th ICW General Assembly is expected to result in a document on the efforts to empower women across the globe, which will be declared at the Village Economic Hall in a community based tourism destination in the Borobudur, Magelang District, Central Java, supported by 20 state owned companies.
The event is held by the ICW and the Indonesian Women`s Congress or Kowani, in cooperation with the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises, in which 35 state owned companies are involved in supporting the event, including Antara News Agency.
Editing by Eliswan Azly