fbpx 5th Asia Women Leaders Program | Asian Development Bank

At the forefront of growth and development in Asia and the Pacific

5th Asia Women Leaders Program

Event | 19 - 21 November 2018 ADBI, Tokyo, Japan
Time of event



Research shows that putting more women in leadership positions can raise productivity and address broader development outcomes, so closing the gaps in women’s leadership is important for a region’s development.

The Asia Women Leaders Program (AWLP) aims to address significant gaps in women’s leadership in Asia and the Pacific. The AWLP targets senior women government officials who are in positions to influence their countries’ public finance, policies, and services, and provides leadership capacity development to strengthen their knowledge, skills, networks, and confidence. In addition to eminent women leaders motivating and mentoring participants with their experiences and insights, top-level trainers will be sharing techniques to improve skills for communication, negotiation, and building alliances.

This is the fifth year of the AWLP organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the first in partnership with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). Speakers at this year’s conference include:

  • Yumiko Tanaka, Professor, Josai International University; Representative of Japan, UN Commission on the Status of Women; former Senior Gender Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Irum Ahsan, Principal Counsel, Law and Policy Reform, Office of General Counsel, ADB
  • Edna Diez, Director, Human Resources Policy and Programs Division, ADB
  • Alka Upadhyaya, Joint Secretary, Rural Connectivity Division, Ministry of Rural Development, India
  • Sayuri Shirai, Visiting Scholar, ADBI; Professor of Economics, Keio University; former Policy Board Member, Bank of Japan; former Economist, International Monetary Fund
  • Nora K. Terrado, Undersecretary, Trade and Investments Promotion Group, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines
  • H.E. Kheng Samvada, Permanent Secretary of State, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Cambodia
  • Kaori Sasaki, Founder and CEO, ewoman, Inc.; President, UNICUL International, Inc.; Founder and Chair, International Conference for Women in Business

You can see an overview of the AWLP here.


To provide an opportunity for select Asian women leaders to:

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

25 senior women government officials, mostly from ministries of economy, planning, finance, and infrastructure-related ministries (transport, energy, urban planning, environment, water) of 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific.


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

  • understand the connections between gender equality, women’s leadership, and inclusive growth in Asia and the and reflect on how they can move the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda forward in their own government work;
  • be inspired by eminent speakers and peer exchanges to build confidence, networks, and motivation to overcome barriers to leadership;
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • 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.
How to register

By invitation only


ADB Gender Equity Thematic Group and ADBI