Australia praises Viet Nam’s efforts in ensuring gender equality
|Australian Ambassador to Viet Nam Robyn Mudie. (Photo: Australian Embassy)|
The Australian Ambassador said she commended the representation of women in the Vietnamese National Assembly as well as the country’s efforts to achieve gender equality. The Gender Equality Law 2006 is an excellent example of the commitment shown by the Government of Viet Nam to this cause, she added.
However, according to the female diplomat, there is scope for Vietnamese women to make more of a mark, and to be present in even greater numbers, especially as Ministers, Vice Ministers and in senior positions in government departments.
“When women serve as political leaders they shape policies that reflect women’s needs and aspirations, meaning that issues affecting women, such as the wage gap and gender-based violence, are dealt with respectfully”, Mudie said.
Achieving equality at senior levels requires a pipeline of young women who are inspired and equipped to take on leadership roles, she went on, stressing that building this pipeline needs to start early, through positive messaging and the creation and promotion of opportunities for girls in their school years.
As with so many aspects of gender equality, the changes required to enable women to fully participate in any sector, whether public or private, require active leadership from the top, as well as ongoing advocacy and awareness at different levels of society, she added.
According to Mudie, in Australia, 35 per cent of businesses are owned by women. Viet Nam and Australia are in a similar position in terms of their proportion. More importantly, it is imperative to increase the representation of women-owned businesses in the economy. Although Viet Nam’s rate of women-led and owned business is also high compared to its neighbors, however, these businesses tend to be smaller operations compared to those run by men and have more challenges accessing finance for expansion and to support sustainable operations that can withstand economic shocks, such as those we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The diplomat stressed promoting women’s economic empowerment has been a longstanding priority of her country’s relationship with Viet Nam. It is increasingly recognized that women’s economic participation drives inclusive and sustainable growth, and this now extends to recovery from COVID-19.
Regarding the cooperation between Australia and Viet Nam in the field of gender equality, Ambassador Mudie emphasized that Australia will strive to continue to be a consistent and constructive partner for Viet Nam as the two sides jointly strive to achieve gender equality.
Over the past five years, supporting women in business has been central to Australia’s diplomatic and development cooperation with Viet Nam, she said, adding that this shows the belief that greater equality will help Viet Nam in its transition to an inclusive, upper middle-income economy.
According to Mudie, there are two programs that best illustrate Australia’s support to Viet Nam to create enabling conditions for women in small and medium enterprises. The first is “Investing in Women”, which has been very successful in changing minds in the big finance and investment sector about the ‘bankability’ or business case for supporting women’s business growth.
The other is “Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism”, which is being carried out in Son La and Lao Cai. It has also demonstrated the great viability and market potential of businesses and cooperatives led by and working with ethnic minority women.
“Australia is undertaking the work because it supports the stability and prosperity of Viet Nam, which is one of our most valuable regional partners”, Ambassador Mudie noted.