Friday, April 23 2021


Leading women promote gender equality

Update: January, 13/2016 - 12:00

Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga (right) said that APEC ministerial meetings will take place in Viet Nam in 2017. Seated to her right is Nguyen Viet Loan (centre) and Italian Ambassador Cecilia Piccioni. VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI (VNS) — Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, honourary president of ASEAN Women's Circle and senior advisor to APEC 2017 National Secretariat, spoke of gender equality issues that Viet Nam as a country still needs to face and improve.
Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga speaks at the meeting. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

"One of our priorities in enhancing gender equality is to work with other countries to implement the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

"Secondly, we wish to contribute to the enhancement of women's empowerment in Asia - Pacific, and we need to help them integrate in the region."

Viet Nam will host APEC meetings in 2017 and one of the Ministerial Meetings to be organized in 2017 would be the High-level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy.

She made her comments at a talk among diplomatic and business leaders in Ha Noi moderated by Nguyen Viet Loan, a Ha Noi native and noted cultural advocate for Viet Nam in the past 25 years in international business circles. 

"I hope that the ambassadors will help spread the message of Viet Nam not only for its improvements in gender equality, but also for its natural beauty.

"As an experienced destination management company, we wish to be part of the process," said Loan, who runs Journey to the East DMC Ltd.

Viet Nam's cultural advocate and business leader Nguyen Viet Loan. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

Also present at the meeting were high-profile women of the diplomatic corps including Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank country director in Viet Nam.

"Viet Nam's gender equality has been performing well in the primary and secondary education level," she said. "But in terms of payment, women do not receive the same pay level as men. Or some jobs are reserved for men, women come after."

Kwakwa also said that she had worked with many talented women from the Ministry of Finance, but they eventually did not rise to the top level.

Women in developing countries tend to usually look up at the level of equality, government support and liberation of their developed sisters. But hear what the Ambassadors of Sweden, the Netherlands and France have to say.

"There's a term in Sweden that's quite popular called ‘leaning in'," said Camilla Mellander, Swedish Ambassador in Viet Nam.

"After a 10-hour work day everyday, you cannot be a perfect host at home or play with your children at weekend sports. But you need to keep your femininity and cherish it."

Indian Ambassador Preeti Saran said that the gender issue in India had been a complex one. She said that the same 2,000-year-old tradition that honours female gods also holds today's women back.

"My first impression of Viet Nam," she said, "was on my way from the airport to the city, I saw women wearing skirts riding their motorbikes around. Women can wear what they want and set out to do what they need."

Dutch Ambassador Nienke Trooster said, "There are human things that need to be done. When women go to work, who would replace them to raise the children and do housework?"

"My husband is a full-time home maker. There are some trade-offs. How would you take in the fact that when my children are sick, the first person they call is my husband, not me."

Gender equality in Viet Nam needs to be improved in the workplace. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

To present the other side of socially successful women, who make more than their husbands, that they can be bosses at their companies, but when they go home, they still have to behave, or even pretend they make less.

The gender issue in developed countries seems to receive a backlash these days. All the women agree that women need to show support for each other, feel self-confident and treasure their values. — VNS

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