Asia Society | Women Leaders of New Asia

Agenda 2013

Download the Agenda in PDF here.


Women in Asia: Building on Progress, Confronting Challenges

Asia Society’s Women Leaders of New Asia Summit

April 12-14, 2013

New Delhi, India


Preliminary Agenda

(As of April 11, 2013)


Friday, April 12, 2013

5:15 pm                               Departure for Indian International Centre

6:30 – 8:00 pm                  Public Program

Venue: India International Centre, #40, Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate,

New Delhi


A New Women’s Revolution in the Making?

While the Asia Pacific region has made great strides in narrowing the gender gap in recent decades, significant disparities remain within individual countries and across the region.  Why in this day and age, are women still subjected to unimaginable violence, systemic discrimination, and barriers that stymie their potential and progress?   What explains the dichotomy between societal demands to redress discriminatory cultural practices versus the political will to address legal challenges and initiate structural reforms?  In a rapidly changing Asia, what opportunities are available for women as they endeavor to lead economically, politically, and socially?  How do we ensure that policy is actually put into action?


Vishakha N. Desai

President Emerita, Asia Society

Special Advisor for Global Affairs, Columbia University



Margaret Alva

Governor of Rajasthan


Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury

State Minister

Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Bangladesh


Penny Low

Member of Parliament

Parliament of Singapore


Melanne S. Verveer

Executive Director

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS)


8:15 pm                               Depart India International Center for off-site dinner

Hosted by Kiran Nadar, Chairperson, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

8:45 pm                               Opening Dinner

Venue: Kiran Nadar Residence


Saturday, April 13, 2013

7:30 am                                                Breakfast

Venue: Machan, Lobby Level

8:30 am                                                Welcome Remarks

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


                                                                Vishakha N. Desai

President Emerita, Asia Society

Special Advisor for Global Affairs, Columbia University


8:45 – 10:15 am                                 Session 1

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women:

The Post-MDG Agenda 

Promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  While some of the goals have already been met ahead of the 2015 target date, according to the latest MDG Report of 2012, the goal of gender equality remains unfulfilled and women continue to face discrimination with regard to access to education, economic opportunities, and political participation.


  • With the realization that overall MDG goals are going to fall short, what should the post-MDG agenda look like?
  • Which countries have been most successful in advancing women’s political and economic participation, and closing the gap between commitment and practice, and how were they able to do it?
  • What are the lessons for the laggards?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of men and boys in promoting and ensuring gender equality?


Reflection & Action: The last 15 minutes of the session is dedicated to recapping the key discussion points and developing actionable ideas for moving the issues forward.



Astrid S. Tuminez

Regional Director

Legal and Corporate Affairs

Microsoft Southeast Asia


Discussion Leaders:

Caren Grown                                                                    Gautam Kumra

Senior Gender Advisor                                                     Director

Bureau of Policy, Planning                                              McKinsey & Company

and Learning



Lakshmi Puri

Acting Head, UN Women

Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations


10:15 – 11:15 am            Keynote Conversation

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Violence Against Women: India as a Case Study

Last December’s brutal rape case in New Delhi and the subsequent death of the victim bespeaks the systemic discrimination and gender-based violence that women continue to endure across India and many parts of Asia.  While it may be unimaginable, especially against the backdrop of Asia’s rising prosperity and rapid change, the prevailing cultural norms and behavioral practices are still prejudiced against women in much of the region.


  • What are the underlying causes for gender-based violence and its far-reaching implications for Asia’s future?
  • What explains the reluctance to enact laws and policies that safeguard women’s rights and ensure their successful implementation?
  • Which Asian countries are at the forefront of gender mainstreaming, how are they doing it, and what lessons can be learned from their experience?


Indira Jaising

Director, Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative

Former Solicitor General of India


11:15 am -12:45 pm        Session 2

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Expanding Economic Opportunities for Women: A Prerequisite for Smart Economics

Accepted as a key driver of economic growth, governments and the private-sector are now increasingly looking at ways to make economic opportunities more accessible to women.  Nevertheless, women continue to be poorer than men, face barriers in the workplace, earn less than men for the same work, and encounter difficulties in accessing credit and markets.

  • What are the most critical persisting challenges that must be tackled before substantial improvement on women’s economic participation will be achieved? What part must each of us, from policy makers to corporate leaders, therefore play in order to address these barriers?
  • Where have we seen significant progress and what can we learn from these case studies?
  • What practical steps can unlock the economic potential of women, with a focus on those who are self-employed or employed by the informal sectors?


Reflection & Action: The last 15 minutes of the session is dedicated to recapping the key discussion points and developing actionable ideas for moving the issues forward.



Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi

Executive Director

Unilab Foundation


Discussion Leaders:

Spenta C. Kandawalla


Captain Chemical Industries (PVT) Ltd.


Sonal Shah

Senior Fellow

Case Foundation


Li Xin

Managing Editor

Caixin – China Economics & Finance


12:45 – 1:45 pm                Lunch

Venue: Villa Medici, Rooftop Level


1:45 – 2:30 pm                   Spotlight Conversation


The Changing Media Landscape 

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level

Ankhi Das

Head of Public Policy

Facebook India


Monnita Komolvadhin

News Editor

Thai Public Broadcasting Service


2:30 – 4:00 pm                   Session 3

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Thinking Ahead with Next Generation Women Leaders

Today, across the Asia-Pacific region, women are entering the workforce in ever-larger numbers and stepping into leadership positions at institutions across the public and private sectors.  This rapidly changing demographic trend will have a profound bearing for the future of the region.


  • What do the next generation of women leaders perceive as the most pressing challenges confronting their generation?
  • What are their priorities and how are they similar or different from the preceding generations’ priorities?
  • Which women leaders inspire them and what lessons can they learn from the experiences of those leaders?


Reflection & Action: The last 15 minutes of the session is dedicated to recapping the key discussion points and developing actionable steps.



Kalpana Raina

Managing Partner

252 Solutions, LLC


Discussion Leaders:

Jade Taihee Chung

Executive Managing Director of HR

General Electric, Korea.


Shinto Nugroho

Head of Public Policy and Government Relations

Google Indonesia


Sheila Marcelo

Founder & CEO


4:00 – 4:30pm                   Tea Break & Group Photo

4:30 – 5:15pm                   Spotlight Conversation

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Women Leaders in Philanthropy

Kiran Nadar


Kiran Nadar Museum of Art


5:45 pm                               Departure for off-site reception

6:30 – 7:30pm                   Reception

Venue: Residence of the U.S. Ambassador to India

Hosted by Ambassador Nancy J. Powell, United States Ambassador to India, U.S. Embassy in New Delhi

7:45 pm                               Shuttle Bus back to the Hotel


8:00 pm                               Dinner

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Sunday, April 14, 2013

7:30 am                                                Breakfast

Venue: Machan, Lobby Level

8:30 – 10:00 am                                Session 4

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Increasing Women’s Political Participation: Turning Policies into Practice

Participants discuss best practices and successful interventions from the Asia-Pacific region that have made the difference for women’s political participation.


  • What progressive laws have led to the rapid increase in the number of women in parliaments and at different levels of governments?
  • How has social media changed the way women organize, galvanize, and take political action?
  • What other mechanisms can strengthen participation of women in the decision-making processes?


Reflection & Action: The last 15 minutes of the session is dedicated to recapping the key discussion points and developing actionable steps.



Anja Manuel


RiceHadleyGates, LLC


Discussion Leaders:

Attiya Inayatullah

Member of Parliament

National Assembly of Pakistan


Mu Sochua

Member of Parliament

National Assembly of Cambodia


Nilar Oo

Deputy Country Representative, Myanmar

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue


10:00 – 11:30 am              Session 5

Venue: Longchamp & Villa Medici, Rooftop Level


Women Leaders Roundtable

Conducted world café-style, participants build on our conversations to identify 2-3 practical steps to overcome barriers to:

  • Women leaders’ political participation
  • Women leaders’ economic empowerment
  • Fostering next generation women leaders


Table Discussion Leaders

Sabeen Mahmud

Founder & Director



Shinto Nugroho

Head of Public Policy and Government


Google Indonesia


Wenchi Yu

Senior Advisor

Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues

U.S. Department of State


11:30am – 12:15pm       Session 6

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Summation of the World Café discussion

Table discussion leaders from each of the world café tables begins by summarizing the morning conversations at their tables, sharing salient points, and soliciting further input for a realistic action agenda.


12:15 – 1:15pm                Lunch

Venue: Villa Medici, Rooftop Level


1:15 -2:00pm                    Session 7

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Forging Strategic Partnerships

To execute the action agenda, it will be critical to join hands with key organizations from across the region.  Participants identify potential partners, discuss modalities for partnership, and draft a plan of action to secure long-term collaboration.


2:00 – 3:00pm                   Session 8

Venue: Longchamp, Rooftop Level


Developing an Action Agenda

Building on the roundtable conversation and discussions over the day and half, this session is devoted to developing a forward-looking action plan for each of the topic areas as well as the Women Leaders of New Asia Initiative.


3:00pm                                Closing Remarks