Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Social welfare measures play a central role in creating an environment for women to freely explore their potential and determine their own course in life, paving the way towards gender equality.
The empowering message was part of the joint declaration adopted by the 3rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women, held yesterday afternoon in Hà Nội.
The joint declaration noted that the goal of gender equality must be pursued in tandem with other sustainable development activities such as education, poverty reduction, environmental protection or climate resilience, in line with ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
ASEAN ministers and delegates urged member countries’ governments to promote the voice of women and female children into its decision-making, especially in areas that affect their lives and livelihoods, end all forms of discrimination against women and females, as well as encourage the participation of men and male children as catalysts to bring about positive changes.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc of the host country attended the opening ceremony of the 3rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women, where he remarked that “We cannot become a united ASEAN that is self-reliant, creative and ensures sustainable development without the involvement of women and girls.”
Prime Minister Phúc expressed deep condolences to the Government and people of Indonesia for the recent earthquake and tsunami, and expressed his condolences to the Government and people of the Philippines for the natural disasters suffered by the country. He said that Việt Nam and ASEAN have always stood alongside Indonesia and the Philippines to overcome difficult times.
"Speaking today, I wonder if our ASEAN can successfully implement the ASEAN 2025 vision if women and girls are not guaranteed fair opportunities and are left behind. Every woman, every girl, must have equal rights in her family and society, be educated, be developed, be protected, and exercise her legitimate powers,” he said.
"Strengthening the economic power of women should become part of the real national development agenda. In that spirit, I highly appreciate the cooperation of the ASEAN cultural and social community," he said.
As evidence, the Prime Minister pointed out that the number, position and life expectancy of women in ASEAN has increased significantly. Educational opportunities have expanded, and the proportion of women attending parliament in many ASEAN countries has grown by 20 per cent. The number of female entrepreneurs has also increased significantly. Many women take part in company boards and act as chief executives of large businesses.
For Việt Nam, the Prime Minister said that the Government has integrated priority initiatives into national programmes and projects promoting gender equality and strengthening social security for the poor. Every year, the Government spends 2.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social support policies and programmes, including for women and girls.
The highlight is an effort to implement the Gender Equality Law 2006 and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Vietnamese women make up more than 50 per cent of the population and the rate of female labour force participation is 70.7 per cent per year. The percentage of women in business ownership has also increased. The percentage of women participating in the 14th National Assembly (2016-2021) reached 27.1 per cent, higher than the region and the world.
However, in addition to the above achievements, the PM also cited the fact that even though women make up 45 per cent of Southeast Asia’s workforce with a population of over 640 million, the level of income of women in the region is generally lower than that of men doing the same job, with a median difference of up to 25 per cent in some countries.
"These issues urge us to work together and have effective solutions to empower women in the future," the PM said.
To make the ASEAN Community a safe and equal space for all, especially women and girls, the Prime Minister believes that the 3rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women will discuss and make strong recommendations for the senior leaders of the bloc.
The PM emphasised three pillars of cooperation. One is training and enhancing new skills for women. This will form a life-long learning network in ASEAN with the continuous transformation of careers in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.
The second is to ensure decent work for all, ending all barriers to women in accessing resources, most notably employment.
Third is strengthening social security for women and girls, in particularly through the improvement of institutions, laws and social insurance policies, extending coverage to all subjects, including the informal sector and migrant workers.
Under the theme ‘Social Security for Women and Girls Toward ASEAN Community Vision 2025,’ the ministers discussed regional and international solutions for strengthening and securing social security for women and girls in order to realise the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Social Security.
The opening ceremony welcomed about 150 delegates from ASEAN countries. — VNS