As an intern at SCWO, my most memorable experience here was sitting in for the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organisation’s (ACWO) Board of Directors Meeting. I was tasked with picking up foreign ACWO Members from the airport and later on, accompanying Thailand delegates to lunch and taking down meeting minutes.
It was an incredibly draining day where we had to be at the airport as early as 8 am to coordinate transportation of the delegates to their hotels then back to SCWO for the meeting. Yet, it was an ultimately rewarding experience for a history student like myself who once had to write essays on the effectiveness of ASEAN and always wondered about the behind-the-scenes for such international bodies. Sitting in for the meeting satisfied this curiosity and I witnessed ACWO members, each hailing from the respective SEA countries, contribute their unique insights on the common goal of women empowerment. It was incredibly enlightening to hear first-hand what each country was doing in their homeland towards this goal and their struggles. At times, the meeting dragged on as members deliberated over certain issues. But it was apparent from the vigorous discussions that these women had already developed an easy sense of familiarity and camaraderie through many years of collaboration and took their jobs seriously. At the end of the day, I was exhausted but left with more insights on ACWO operations.
My time here has enriched my understanding on issues of women and gender equality but clearly, there is still work to be done and I still have more to learn. Moving forward – inspired by one of my research tasks here on sexual assault and date rape – I hope to continue my learning at a Family Violence Specialist Centre and help other vulnerable women in need. My three month internship stint may have ended, but I will continue to strive to be part of this valuable movement.
by Lai Sin Yee