Understanding Inequalities in Southeast Asia from Various Perspectives: Are We in a “Proper” Trajectory?

Ph.D. Candidate (Ms.) Adiasri Putri Purbantina1,3, Master of Global Media Communication (Ms.) Mona Sihombing2, MA in International Relations (Ms.) Maria Indira Aryani3, M.Med.Kom. (Ms.) Ade Kusuma3

1Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Shinjuku, Japan, 2Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), San Sai District, Thailand, 3Universitas Pembangunan Nasional “Veteran” Jawa Timur, Surabaya, Indonesia

Chair: Adiasri Putri Purbantina


This panel covers the inequality issue in Southeast Asia from various perspectives. The panel seeks to invoke a further discussion into whether the Southeast Asian countries are moving towards a “proper” trajectory. The first two papers discuss the inequality issues from the global/regional level from two different perspectives: state and non-state actors. The first paper proposes the idea that different levels of urgency to pursue technology-driven industrial catch-up resulted in an increasing technological inequality between ASEAN and ASEAN’s external partners. The second paper questions the nature of economic empowerment as an external idea. Thus, the paper opens a debate on whether inequalities have ever been growing in the first place? The third and fourth paper looks into the national level to discuss inequalities. The third paper compares different countries in Southeast Asia to highlight the presence of religious inequalities. Using religious groups as its unit of analysis, the paper seeks to answer what are the main factors that exacerbate an increasing trend of religious inequalities in the region. The final paper captures the story of inequalities from a micro-level (i.e., individual perspective) using the case of Indonesia. Based on in-depth interviews as its main data, the paper explores a shifting form of gender inequalities in Indonesia due to “double workloads”.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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