This year for International Women’s Day, Impact Hub Taipei hosted an event featuring the Cambodian-based Japanese organization SUSU. SUSU is a social enterprise focused on empowering women through traditional crafts. The women of SUSU create beautiful, handmade goods that help raise them above the poverty line and advance in life. This collaboration between Impact Hub Taipei and SUSU is just one way Impact Hub is working to help meet the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which focuses on gender equality.
Gender equality is a particularly important issue in all of Asia, where 70% of women work in agriculture. That number jumps to 80% when we look at South Asia alone, making it the region with the highest percentage of women doing agricultural work in the world. Additionally, almost 100 million women are considered “missing” because of factors like unequal access to health and nutrition, neglect, and pre-birth selection.
And while 38 percent of Taiwanese parliament are women and in 2016 Taiwan elected the first female president in the Mandarin-speaking world, gender equality is still a pretty new concept there as well. Impact Hub Taipei is pushing back against the cultural norm of male dominance by hosting events like the SUSU pop-up. They hope to not only highlight great work that groups are doing to fight gender inequality across Asia but also boost possibilities for cross-border cooperation.
Throughout the day on March 8, visitors to Impact Hub Taipei were given information about women’s development in Taipei and Southeast Asia. That evening, speaker Alicia Chen shared her story of why she joined SUSU. She was working as a reporter on a refugee ship when she realized she was interested in social entrepreneurship. That interest led her to an internship at SUSU, which subsequently led to a job working with the organization. After sharing her personal story, Chen presented SUSU’s latest initiative: A two-year school for women who are interested in building up their professional skills.
The rest of the evening saw the gathered crowd — which was about 90% percent female — talking about ways they can support empowerment of women moving forward. Inspired by SUSU and by Chen’s talk, people were motivated to bring that SUSU energy forward. It was an excellent example of how events like this can help spread the knowledge and are necessary to advance the empowerment of women worldwide.
The SUSU pop-up was just the first in a line of events that Impact Hub Taipei will be hosting in 2018.
“This year, gender and women topic-related programming will be one of our main focuses,” Oliver Chang, Impact Hub Taipei Co-Founder says. “We will keep promoting the value, and encourage as many actions as possible. We hope that we can raise the public awareness on gender equality and connect people to international trends.”
And Impact Hub Taipei is not alone: Almost 20% of Impact Hub’s ventures in Asia Pacific focus on meeting SDG 5. It’s a lofty goal, but where better to try and meet it than Impact Hub?
Impact Hub Taipei’s efforts to highlight the great work that groups are doing to fight gender inequality across Asia and boost possibilities for cross-border cooperation is contributing to the following Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):