One of ASEAN’s main goals set for the Socio-Cultural Community is to improve the quality of education and training for people, with special attention to the field of sex education, thereby contributing to promoting socio-economic development and gender equality.
In an article in the Jakarta Globe, Yoriko Yasukawa, Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Asia-Pacific region highlighted the alarming realities of gender discrimination and receipt of gender constraints in ASEAN member countries, and make recommendations to improve this gloomy picture.
According to Yasukawa, as of 2015, ASEAN countries have about 164 million teenagers aged 10-24 years and this number is expected to increase to over 166 million by 2030.
Due to the Asian conception, gender issues are still limited in school and this is one of the reasons why gender discrimination is still severe in Southeast Asia.
In regional countries, only 58% of women work, while this rate for men is 82%.
In addition, the income gap between the sexes is quite large. For example, women in Cambodia and Singapore earn just 25% of men’s income.
In Southeast Asian countries today there are about 27 million adolescents aged 15-19. About 35% of these people get married early, 18% of girls give birth when they are under 20 years old.
This fact is very worrying because of the impact on the quality of the population when the mother is too young, lacking experience in living and caring for young children, and is unable to afford economy. In addition to domestic violence, more than 40% of adolescent girls in at least 3 ASEAN countries think domestic violence is acceptable.
About 34% of women admitted to being victims of physical and mental violence while living with their husbands or in-laws.
All the above figures show that comprehensive sex education in ASEAN countries needs to be more widely disseminated to help young people approach and share their situation.
The Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Asia-Pacific region said that governments need to pay serious attention to comprehensive sex education, to help young people with knowledge. It is necessary to help them protect themselves and gradually eliminate the idea of gender discrimination in all areas of life.
Southeast Asian governments must set clear goals and commit to effectively implement this issue. This issue must be taken seriously as the economic development goals of each country.
School educational programs need to be reformed, the school environment should be more comprehensive.
In addition, businesses, as socio-economic organizations, support the government in achieving this goal by giving public support and actively participating in problem-solving dialogues. this.
Southeast Asian countries need to join hands for the future of the young generation, for the future of each nation and for the future of the whole of Southeast Asia.