Australian Embassy

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls visits Indonesia

Media Release

1 May 2012

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls visits Indonesia

Australia's Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Penny Williams, will today begin a visit to Indonesia to support Australian and Indonesian government programs aimed at strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment.

During her visit, Ambassador Williams will meet with Indonesian women involved in sectors of society. “Indonesia is my first visit to South East Asia as Ambassador for Women and Girls,” Ambassador Williams said. “For Australia, there is no more important relationship than with Indonesia.”

“When a country as diverse and complex as Indonesia makes advances in gender equality, women’s empowerment and maternal health, it demonstrates to the world what can be achieved in development more generally.”

“Advocacy for women and girls is a priority for Australia,” Ambassador Williams said. “In Indonesia, I am looking to broaden support for women and women’s leadership programs.”

Ambassador Williams will visit a community health clinic in Cipayung village, Bogor, and meet women in Kedung Manggu village who run a small cassava flour production business. Australia helps fund these projects through support to the Government of Indonesia’s National Community Empowerment Progam (PNPM). PNPM benefits more than 70,000 villages, including access to health and education services for women and children.

Australia also supports Indonesia to reduce maternal mortality rates, for example by working toward all women being able to give birth in health facilities. In 2011-2012, Australia ensured an additional 17,800 births were attended by a skilled birth attendant in East Nusa Tenggara.

Ambassador Williams will also visit the Madrasah Tsanawiyah Tarbiyatul Huda. Australia has built over 2,000 junior secondary schools in Indonesia, creating more than 300,000 additional places for children.

She will then return to SMA 1 PSKD in Menteng, Jakarta where she was a high school exchange student in 1981-1982. Australia continues to promote exchanges through post-graduate scholarships and will provide over 400 scholarships in 2011-12. Half of those scholarships were awarded to women.

She will also take her visit online to the Australian Embassy’s Facebook site and interact with fans about issues facing women and girls today.

Media Enquiries:
Ray Marcelo, Counsellor (Public Affairs) 08111 873 175