AWEP is an organization to promote Asian women’s empowerment. Empowerment means, we think, to develop skills/abilities, to have options to determine one’s direction, and to acquire environments for such potentials.
With the global trend in which people, material goods and information travel across boundaries, we are witnessing more and more emigration as wealth gaps among regions have become broader. Asian women’s emigration also has seen a constant increasing trend as service and manufacturing industries have been feminizing labor as they develop. However, women are still exposed to violence and exploitation risks in societies in which gender discrimination and patriarchal systems are still conserved. In Japan, also, cases of exploitation of Asian women and sexual violence against them have been reported. Many women and children with Japanese fathers suffer social and economic instability due to some Japanese men’s neglect and abandonment of their paternal responsibility.
Asian Women’s Empowerment started its activities in 1994 to help migrated Asian women live their lives as they choose. We have helped Asian women create jobs and employment for women so they can have their own business bases built in their own countries through fair trade. This has helped solve specific problems women have in their local communities and improve their situations. We, as Asian citizens living in an Asian country, have established close, face-to-face human relationships with other women, understood the Asian situations as our own close neighbors’ problems and have transmitted those facts to the Japanese society. Also, as we met foreign women victims of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, we started our counseling and other information dissemination services.
However, the exploitation and violence against women still exist deeply rooted in the contempt toward Asian women. In recent years, problems concerning migrant women have become more diversified and complicated, involving violence from husbands of international marriage, exploitation by fake marriage and labor exploitation of skill intern trainees.
We will work harder to solve individual problems and enhance our social action to change the social structure of exploitation in solidarity and cooperation with women. For that purpose the pillars of our activities will be strengthening our economic stability, our solidarity and network with women beyond regional and national borders and creating a society in which women can live proactively. For economic stability, we will mainly try to create women’s income sources and promote employment in their own countries through fair trade.
Domestically, we will send out practical information to foreign women residents and promote solidarity and network building among women’s groups/organizations.
Lastly, we will hold seminars in Japan and visit countries from which women migrated to Japan to educate the general public about the social environments and themes that surround migrant women with such problems as gender, ethnic, and nationality discriminations.
AWEP aims to create a society in which Asian women can live proactively with dignity without being harassed with violence or exploitation.
(from the Founding Prospectus)