Vietnamese culture and silk are topics of event dedicated to women

March 22, 2023 - 09:00
More than 100 female diplomats, representatives of international organisations in Hà Nội, and spouses of foreign ambassadors in Việt Nam gathered at the event.

HÀ NỘI — Culture in all its forms and expressions can accelerate human development, said the UN Women Country Representative, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, at an event in Hà Nội yesterday to honour the role of women in development.

Representative of UN Women in Việt Nam Elisa Fernandez Saenz, wearing a Vietnamese áo dài, delivers a speech at the event. — VNS Photos Thúy Hằng

More than 100 female diplomats, representatives of international organisations in Hà Nội, and spouses of foreign ambassadors in Việt Nam gathered at the event.

The event, entitled Following the Traces of Silk, has been organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in collaboration with the Việt Nam Sericulture Research Centre (VIETSERI) and the Vietnamese silk brand De Silk to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8).

The event also aims to introduce to special guests the process of making Vietnamese silk.

More than 100 female diplomats, female representatives of international organisations in Hà Nội, and spouses of foreign ambassadors in Việt Nam gather at the event.

Adorned in a Vietnamese áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress), UN women representative Saenz emphasised the importance of culture in every society.

“Culture can transform societies into more inclusive, resilient and sustainable," she said. "Culture can also be a powerful tool to communicate complex truths about our existence better. It can open minds and hearts to understand diversity better and act against social injustices, inequalities, and climate change.”

The UN officer also said the Vietnamese government demonstrated a high commitment to placing culture at the heart of its ambitious development trajectory.

Founder of De Silk, Văn Hằng, presents a product to a guest at the event.

“Currently, there are eight [UNESCO] world heritage sites and 15 intangible cultural heritages in Việt Nam," Saenz added. "This capture Việt Nam's uniqueness and the country's laudable commitment to protect culture and heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

Since arriving in Việt Nam five years ago, the UN officer has learned about the great beauty of this clothing and its prominence to those wearing it.

“Traditionally, the áo dài is made from silk, and as you know, silk has played an important role in the cultural and economic life of Việt Nam," Saenz said. "It has also been linked to women's movements. For example, as the gender equality movement began to gain momentum in Việt Nam in the early 20th century, silk production became a symbol of women's empowerment.

"Women involved in silk production organised themselves into cooperatives and used the income from their work to support social and political causes, such as education for girls.”

She said she hopes that Việt Nam's silk production will continue to pave the way for greater gender equality and prosperity for all.

A guest learns how to weave silk.

Delivering a speech at the event, MoFA deputy minister of the Lê Thị Thu Hằng said that since the special day [International Women’s Day] was founded 113 years ago, the international community had made great strides in protecting and upholding the role and contribution of women.

“The women ourselves also have changed in awareness and action to be more active in participating and contributing to society,” Hằng said.

According to MoFA vice minister, in 2022 Việt Nam was among the ten best countries in the world in implementing the United Nations' goals on gender equality and empowering women and girls.

“For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promoting gender equality and for the advancement of women is one of the major priorities," Hằng said. "With the female staff accounting for nearly 47 per cent, female diplomatic personnel and spouses of diplomats is the core force that has been making important contributions in all fields of foreign affairs.”

Guests visit a mulberry field at the VIETSERI.

At the event, the participants also had a chance to learn about the origin and development of Vietnamese silk weaving craft through a demonstration from the founder of the silk brand De Silk, Văn Hằng.

The guests also enjoyed visiting the VIETSERI mulberry field, where they picked with relish the ripe mulberries or fed the silkworm with mulberry leaves.

Some even sit by a loom to experience the weaving craft or to learn how the silk has been reeling. — VNS