Interview with Vice-president of the Vietnam Women’s Union about 18th Global Summit Women

Xinhua News Agency had an interview with Vice-president of the Vietnam Women’s Union Madame Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy about the summit 18th Global Summit of Women which is held in Hanoi, from 5-7/6/2008.

Reporter: What is the meaning of Global Summit of Women and how has Vietnam prepared for this event?


Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy: Global Summit of Women is an international forum to connect female entrepreneurs, experts, government leaders from all countries over the world. After 18 years of operation, Global  Summit of Women has become a reputable international forum that links and assembles prestigious and influential women to petition to Governments about the solution for business problems and gender equality in the global economy.


This Summit is held annually and rotated up to continents. This year, Asia – the most economically dynamic region of 21st century - is selected to be the host of this event. It is a great honor for Vietnam to organize the 18th Global Summit of Women from 5-7 Jun 2008 with the theme “Women and Asia – Driving the Global Economy”. This event brings to participants an comprehensive overview of dynamic economies in the Asian-Pacific region that is expected to become the centre of the world economic development in the 21st century. The Summit also focus o­n involvement of more women in business development in the region. The panel discussion and forum concentrate o­n the development of leadership skills, business development and create network for businesswomen.


As a host country for 18th summit and as a new member of WTO, it is a very good chance for Vietnam to promote national image with the cultural, typical features and the achievements of the renovation especially in the areas of economy and gender equality. The Summit also provides Vietnam a good opportunity to introduce the business environment to international friends as well as to help Vietnamese businesswomen to communicate, associate, exchange information and management experiences among international women and looking for the potential partners.


In order to prepare this event, the Summit has been received special concerns of the Vietnamese Party and the Government. Vietnamese Government set up the Vietnam organizing Committee chaired by Madame Tran Thi Thuy – Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), President of Vietnam Businesswomen Council. VCCI is assigned to preside over this event together with the Central Vietnamese Women Union; Hanoi People’s Committee; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, related Ministries/agencies. The establishment of Vietnam Host Committee which is working closely with the International Planning Committee reflects the Vietnamese commitments to the success of the Summit.


Up to now the preparation has been completed. According to the information from the International Planning Committee, there are more than 600 participants from 60 countries, registered which include the high-ranking women in Government such as: Mozambique Prime Minister, the First Lady of Bukina Faso and around 33 women ministers and deputy ministers. Vietnam have about 500 top businesswomen registered in all activities of the Summit and the Forum Doing business in Vietnam. Especially, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Vice President of the State Madame Nguyen Thi Doan will attend and deliver speeches at the opening session of the Summit.


Reporter: Couldyou please provide information about the roles, status and achievements of Vietnamese women during the renovation as well as the challenges they are facing


Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Thúy: The Party and State of Vietnam always appreciate and issuevarious policies to promote women’s roles and status; Besides, women themselvesalso try their best to improve their capacity to effectively contribute their efforts to the family and society. Therefore, in the cause of national renovation, Vietnamese women have gained lots of significant achievements in all areas.


Accounting for 49.95% of labor forces in agriculture–forestry-pisciculture production, 36.69% in industry and construction, 51.8% in services; 25% in entrepreneurs, Vietnamese women have made great contributions to socio-economic development, particularly in poverty alleviation.

Women’s educational levels and capacity have been increasingly with 40.23% of B.A degree and above (PhD: 9.78%, M.A: 30.53%); especially, the number of girl students who get the top-ranking in the Universities is at high percentage.


With their quality, capacity and prestige, women make up quite high rate in the elective bodies (National Assembly: 25.7%; People’s Council of provincial level: 23.8%, district level: 23.01% and commune level: 19.53%). Many women hold important positions in leading agencies of the Party, State and mass organizations at all levels.


However, being a poor country and in theprocess of development and integration, frequently sufferring from natural calamities, Vietnam country as well asVietnamese women are facing with many challenges and difficulties as follows:

The issues of poverty and underemployment

Low educational and professional levels of the most women laborers

Limited health care facilities for women, children and ageing people

-  Influences of social problems to women such as: drug, prostitution, women & children trafficking, domestic violence

-  Gender inequality still exists.


Reporter: Could you please introduce an exemplary of female entrepreneur in Vietnam?


Vice President Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy: It is not easy for me to introduce a typical female entrepreneur in Vietnam as during the renovation period of Viet Nam, many businesswomen become success, tens of them receive honorable name of hero; hundredsreceive Golden Rose Prize, Viet Nam Women Prize, and Exemplary Enterprise Title… Each businesswoman with herown success is an exemplary mirror of will, energy, creative power and humane feeling.


To meet your request, we will recommend o­ne of them. She is Mrs. Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh, the board chairwoman and the general director of Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Joint Stock Company (Ho Chi Minh city). She is also recommended to the Title of ASEAN exemplary businesswoman Prize 2008


Ms. Mai Thanh was born in 1952. She is an engineer, graduated from Cac Mac University (in German Democratic Republic). In 1982 she returned to Viet Nam and worked as the director of the state-owned Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Enterprise; In 1993 the Enterprise was equitized with the name of Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Joint Stock Company (REE). She became board chairwoman, andgeneral director of the Company.

Since 1993, under her leadership, REE company becomes an pioneer and reaches many success in implementing the policy of renovating and developingenterprise:

REE company is the first Vietnamese state-owned enterprise equitizingcompany as pilot; the first enterprise which issuedconversion bond to foreign countries successfully; the first company produces air-condition with Viet Nam trade mark; the first company posted its stock o­n Viet Nam securities and stock market and also the first enterprise applying model statute of Asian Development Bank (ADB). At present, REE products make up about 15-20% local share market. In its development process, the company provides a lot of job opportunities to laborers, increasing from 334 laborers in 1993 to 974 laborers in 2008 with average income of 4,9 million VND/people/month; Contributes to the state budget nearly o­ne hundred billion VND/year; supports to social and charitable activities with billions VND. REE Company and Ms. Mai Thanh have received Medal, many prizes and certificates of merit.

Translated by Int’l Relations Dept.