The Asia Women Leaders Program (AWLP) aims to address significant gaps in women’s leadership in the Asia and Pacific region. The program targets senior women government officials who are in positions to influence their country’s public finance, policies and services and provides leadership capacity development strengthening their knowledge, skills, networks and confidence. Eminent women leaders from government, private sector, and civil society in Asia are invited as motivational speakers to share their experiences and insights and mentor participants. Top-level trainers share techniques to improve skills for communication, negotiation and building alliances. This is the third year of the program. Watch prominent women leaders, Roshaneh Zafar, Wenny Kusuma, Oyun Sajurassen, Erna Witolaer, Emmeline Versoza, Pacita Juan, and Thet Thet Khine, share their insights on their personal journeys, cultivating women's empowerment and leadership, and promoting gender equality. View the video series on Women in Leadership.


The program provides opportunity for select Asian women leaders to:

  1. learn about the Asia Pacific region’s relative standing vis-a-vis global gender gaps in health, education, economic participation and political empowerment in the context of SDGs;
  2. reflect on how women’s leadership catalyzes gender equality and inclusive growth;  
  3. hear about personal journeys to leadership and exchange experiences with peers;
  4. learn and practice leadership communications skills; and,
  5. strengthen skills for negotiation and building alliances to influence decision-making.

Expected outputs

At the end of the program, the participants are expected to:

  1. understand the connections between gender equality, women’s leadership and inclusive growth in the Asia and Pacific region; and reflect on how they can move the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda forward in their own government work;
  2. be inspired by eminent speakers and peer exchanges to build confidence, networks and motivation to overcome barriers to leadership;
  3. learn and practice communications techniques to improve their skills to speak with authority and clarity and handle tough questions effectively from staff, supervisors or the media;
  4. become more aware of their own negotiating styles; learn how to navigate underlying gender biases in a negotiation; and recognize the value of building alliances to gain support for rising to the top as well as bringing attention to gender issues.
  5. understand that leadership development is not only about building one’s own personal capacities, but also one’s ability to motivate and enable others to participate and improve their lives and communities. 

Target participants

About 26 senior women government officials, largely from ministries of economy, planning, finance and infrastructure-related ministries from 18 countries in the Asia and Pacific region have been invited to participate. Women Leader Speakers' Sessions are open to interested ADB staff as observers (indicated in the Program).

Resource speakers

The Asia Women Leaders Program 2016 includes the following key resource speakers: 

  1. Thet Thet Khine, Member of Parliament, Myanmar House of Representatives; Vice President, Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs’ Association; Managing Director, Jewel Collection Manufacturing Co., Ltd.;
  2. Oyun Sanjaasuren, Founder of the Zorig Foundation; former Minister of Environment and Green Development; and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Mongolia;
  3. Erna Witoelar, Founder, KEHATI (Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation); former Minister of Human Settlements and Regional Development, Government of Indonesia; and former UN Special Ambassador for MDGs in Asia Pacific;
  4. Mohna Ansari, Member, Nepal Human Rights Commission; and former Member of the National Women’s Commission, Nepal;
  5. Emmeline Verzosa, Executive Director, Philippine Commission on Women;
  6. Wenny Kusuma, Representative, UN Women, Nepal
  7. Nasreen Jahan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration, Government of Bangladesh;
  8. Pacita Juan, Chair, ASEAN Women's Entrepreneur Network; Chair Women's Business Council of the Philippines; Founder ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle; Chair, ECHOsi Foundation; Co-Chair and President, Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.; and
  9. Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation and of Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited, Pakistan

Presentation materials

See presentation materials from this event on ADB Knowledge Events.

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