Women empowerment: Valuable experiences from Vietnam and Australia
The Workshop was organized by the Central Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union and the Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad Incorporated (APHEDA).
In hybrid format, the event brought together leaders of the Vietnam Women’s Union, representatives of ministries, sectors and branches; and about 300 participants from Embassies, United Nations agencies, international organizations in Vietnam, members of the Vietnam Women's Union at central and provincial levels from 63 provinces, centrally-run cities.
Partnership for women development
Speaking at the Workshop, Vice President of the Vietnam Women's Union Nguyen Thi Minh Huong said that the workshop aimed at sharing information and experiences of the two countries on promoting gender equality, and at the same time discussing legal initiatives for future cooperation for the development of women.
In the 2022-2027 term, the Vietnam Women's Union has determined that one of the key focus is to expand and improve the effectiveness of cooperation with international partners, especially with strategic partners as Australia, the Women's Union Vice President noted.
In the context of digital transformation and international integration, in order to continue implementing Resolution No. 18 of the Women’s Union Central Committee on supporting women in international integration until 2030, the Vietnam Women’s Union wants to promote cooperation with Australia in areas it has strengths such as women's economic empowerment, digital transformation, people-to-people exchanges and international integration, security and safety for women and children, incorporation of gender issue in policy formulation and implementation, ect.
Vice President of the Vietnam Women's Union Nguyen Thi Minh Huong speaks at the workshop. (Photo: phunuvietnam.vn)
Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Huong affirmed that women empowerment and ensuring gender equality actually help countries better solve social problems.
She emphasized that experience sharing from participants is very useful for Vietnam in general and the Vietnam Women's Union in particular in the process of formulating and implementing policies and laws related to women and gender equality, which can be a valuable suggestion for the Union’s orientation. Through this cooperation, there will be more opportunities to connect and expand the network of cooperation for gender equality between Vietnam and Australia.
Speaking at the Workshop, Australian Deputy Head of Mission to Vietnam Mark Tattersall said gender equality and women empowerment are a top priority in Australia's domestic and foreign policy.
According to Mr. Mark Tattersall, realizing women's full potential to participate in all spheres of economic and social life has a huge impact on development, reputation and readiness for the future of countries around the world.
Australian Deputy Head of Mission to Vietnam Mark Tattersall. (Photo: phunuvietnam.vn)
Affirming its commitment to cooperate with Vietnam for equality in the coming years, the Australian Deputy Head of Mission expressed his belief that Vietnam has all the conditions to become a leading country on gender equality in the ASEAN region.
Australia is proud to partner with Vietnam on many initiatives for equality and inclusion, such as working with communities and the private sector to create economic development opportunities for women, especially ethnic minority women, stressed the Australian Deputy Head of Mission. Australia is attracting investment in women-owned enterprises, working with the National Assembly and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs on new laws, he added.
Gender equality is the smart way
At the workshop, Vietnamese and Australian speakers touched upon different aspects of women's political empowerment and economic empowerment, with special attention how to draw women to political participation and increasing the percentage of women leaders in key agencies.
Notably, Ms. Nguyen Thanh Cam, 15th National Assembly Social Affairs Committee’s Permanent Member, shared on the increasing of women participation in political activities in general and elected bodies in particular. Accordingly, the activities of elected female deputies have made an important contribution in formulating policies in all areas of social life, monitoring national socio-economic issues and making positive impact on promoting gender equality.
Workshop on valuable experiences from Vietnam and Australia: Overview of the event. (Photo: Le An)
In the tenure of 14th National Assembly, Vietnam had the first National Assembly Chairwoman. Due to the affirmative policy of the Party and State, endless efforts of women generations, the percentage of National Assembly female deputies increased over the years, reaching 30.26% in the 15th National Assembly. The percentage of women participating in People's Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 tenure is over 26%.
Currently, 15/30 ministries, ministerial-level agencies, and governmental agencies have female key officials. There are 3 female Ministers, 1 female Head of Governmental agency, 12 female Deputy Ministers and equivalent. Percentage of People's Committees at all levels with female key leaders reachs 37.7% at provincial level; 31.77% at district level; 24.94% at commune level, according to the data of the tenure 2021-2025.
Over years, implementing responsibility of verifying the incorporation of gender equality issues in legal documents, the number of legal documents which have been reviewed by National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee has increased both in quantity and quality with many important legal projects for gender equality.
Participants attending the workshop in Hanoi. (Photo: phunuvietnam.vn)
Aus4Skills Program Director Kaye Eldridge shared on Australia's experience in engaging women in politics and increasing the presence of female leaders. She affirmed the presence of women at high levels of policymaking will contribute to the changing the way to address the greatest contemporary strategic questions.
Kaye Eldridge stressed: “The presence of women supports a more complete identification of issues affecting a country's social and economic landscape, leading to more complete and effective policies. The presence of women helps widening the networks and opening the new doors because women always see issues in depth and foster discussion.”
The Aus4Skills Program Director also cited an increasing number of women taking up senior foreign, defense and security roles in the Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asia regions, as well as a growing number of women in the Australian Government.
Ms Kaye Eldridge cited Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong's recent comment as a good summary of why women's participation in politics is important: “Comprehensive representation, reflective of our entire community, means that we make better decisions, our society is safer, and our nation is stronger.” This quote underscores that gender equality in politics is not only the right way, but the smart way, Kaye Eldridge emphasized.
Concerning the direction of supporting women's economic empowerment in the coming time, Ms. Pham Thi Huong Giang, Head of the Department of Support for Women's Economic Development, Vietnam Women's Union, emphasized a number of solutions such as implementing effectively the Government's Project "Supporting cooperatives managed by women, creating jobs for female workers by 2030", the Project "Supporting women to start a business in the period 2017-2025"; to support vocational training, creat jobs for women, ect.
Giang also expressed her optimism that women, accounting for 50.2% of the population, 47.4% of the labor force, will increasingly assert their potential, role and important position in family and society, making a worthy contribution to the development process of the country. The society's perception of the women role and position has changed a lot in the positive direction, she affirmed.
During the workshop, speakers also shared initiatives and cooperation orientations towards the goal of gender equality. (Photo: phunuvietnam.vn)
During the discussion session at the workshop, speakers also shared initiatives and cooperation orientations towards the goal of gender equality and the prevention and control of gender-based violence against women.
This sharing is the basis for the Vietnam Women's Union and its Australian partners to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of cooperation for the development of women in the coming time.
Since 2014, the Center for Women and Development under the Vietnam Women's Union, with support from the Australian Government, has implemented many programs and activities to reduce violence against women and girls through outstanding projects as followed:
Project “Improving capacity of human resources in Vietnam: Delivery effective service in the prevention of gender-based violence and human trafficking under the Australian Government Partnerships for Development (GPFD); partnership between the Vietnam Women's Union and South Australia’s Flinders University, from 2014-2017, to provide support for abused women and children, including training and capacity building, improvement of Shelter and Counseling services.
Project "Supporting interventions to eliminate violence against women and children in Vietnam in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic" from May 2020 to May 2021: The project is in coordination by UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women, together with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Vietnam Farmers' Union, and the Vietnam Women's Union, and other concerned parties. The project is aiming at strengthening national prevention and response mechanisms to address violence against women and children in the context of COVID-19.
Project “Eliminating violence against women and children in Vietnam”, which has been implementing from June 2021 to July 2025: This project aims to achieve the goal that all women and children in Vietnam, including the vulnerable one, can live a life free from violence through strengthening prevention strategies and multidisciplinary response measures.