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About Us

History of ACWO

On November 20th, 1981, ACWO was formally established at a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was held in conjunction with the reactivation of the ASEAN Women’s Programme (AWP), the ASEAN Governments’ grouping charged with the responsibility of women in development programmes.

ACWO is an institutional framework established to bring together women’s voluntary organisations in the ASEAN region to work in concerted efforts towards the full integration of women in development. ACWO comprises the National Council of Women’s Organisations in each ASEAN member country.

It is the regional forum for ASEAN women to exchange views / problems, and experiences, to assist in the implementation of strategies and programmes adopted by the ASEAN governments, for the enhancement of women’s participation in both national and regional progress.

The First ACWO General Assembly was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 21st, 1984, jointly with the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Women’s Programme. From its inception, ACWO has had close ties and working relations with AWP (now the ACW – ASEAN committee on Women), the ASEAN Government’s Committee on Social Development. It holds affiliated status as the Non-Government Organisation recognised by the ASEAN Standing Committee and is accredited to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC). Since 1995, ACWO also joined the ECOSOC which provides it with category II status in the UN system. This also enables ACWO to participate in important UN discussions relating to women such as Commission on the Status of Women, Convention on the Elimination of (all forms of) Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), etc.