Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan attended and delivered a statement at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Global Summit of Women in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 23. The following is the full text of the statement.
Your Excellency Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand,
Madam Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to attend the 2022 Global Summit of Women (GSW) hosted in the beautiful and hospitable Thailand. First, on behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, I would like to extend my wishes of peace, prosperity and development to Excellency Prime Minister of Thailand, Madam President of the GSW, and all delegates.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Thailand on the efforts and achievements in gender equality and women empowerment. They have been reflected in your regulations and enforcement and oversight mechanisms to protect women’s rights and interests. Such efforts have also been recognised through the UN Secretary-General’s appointment of a Thai Princess as a Goodwill Ambassador in Thailand for UN Women, in line with the determination and desire to “Say No to Violence against Women”. The percentage of Thai women owning and running businesses is 24%, higher than the world average (20%) and in the Asia-Pacific (13%). These are truly impressive results.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The world is facing unprecedented instabilities as a result of the dual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of crises and conflicts. Meanwhile, women, in spite of their important position and role in the development process, are directly affected and hardest hit. Many of them have seen their health affected, lost their jobs, received less income, fallen prey to poverty and violence, and lagged behind in terms of know-hows, skills, and opportunities for re-integration.
Nonetheless, if together we can change our mindset and act, these difficulties and challenges can completely be transformed into opportunities, as the post-pandemic world is quickly moving toward recovery and growth. Positive trends in sustainable development, green and inclusive growth, digital transformation, public-private partnership, social security, and education reforms, among others, have created new economic opportunities for women.
With that in mind, this Summit’s theme: “Women: Creating Opportunities in the New Reality” is greatly relevant to the formulation and implementation of policies in post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and development. This year, the Vietnamese delegation, with the presence of leaders of ministries and agencies, and more than 50 businesses, will surely make a positive contribution to the success of the Summit. At the Opening Ceremony, I wish to propose the following:
Firstly, we need to bolster the voice and participation of women in legislative and executive bodies, and the planning and implementation of development policies. Women should be viewed as the goal, the driver, the subject, and at the same time, the beneficiary of the pursuit of a “new reality”, a comprehensive economy, a fair society, and sustainable development.
Secondly, economic empowerment for women is essential in the new context. Necessary frameworks and policies should be put in place to facilitate women’s entrepreneurship and access to finance and digital know-hows, ensure fair pay, and stable and suitable employment for women. We need to fully harness the role of organizations and networks, in order to gather and connect women at all levels so that they can share experience, inspire, and support each other for mutual growth.
Thirdly, it is necessary to further advance gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment in responding to climate change, minimizing natural disaster risks, and ensuring sustainable livelihoods. As one of the countries most heavily impacted by climate change, Vietnam is keenly aware of the issue’s urgency. Many solutions have been proposed to transform the growth model, build a green, sustainable, circular and environment-friendly economy, and increase people’s resistance and adaptability to climate change, particularly of women and girls.
Fourthly, we should enhance the capacity of female workforce, to draw from their potential and strength, and their desire for ownership and betterment. Women need to make good use of opportunities from the 4th Industrial Revolution and gain access to advanced knowledge and digital applications in order to keep up with current major trends. Starting now, there must be education strategies focusing on girls, to turn them into a skilled workforce for the future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The consistent and overarching policy of the State of Vietnam is to promote gender equality in each and every phase of national development. The National Strategy on Gender Equality for 2021-2030 was issued to further narrow gender gaps and create opportunities for women and men to participate and benefit equally from achievements in different aspects of social life, contributing to the sustainable development of the entire nation.
In fact, over 50% of the Vietnamese population is female and women account for nearly 48% of the labor force. They have taken more prominent positions and made notable contributions to every aspect of social life. In politics, over 30% of National Assembly Deputies are women, a higher figure than the regional average, and 50% of Ministries and Ministerial-level agencies have women as core leaders. In the economy, 29.8% of businesses are women-owned. As such, Vietnam ranks 6th among countries with the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs. The Vietnam Women’s Union’s organization spans from the central to the local levels, and holds a vital role in assembling and representing the lawful and legitimate rights and interests of all women. The Union’s highest priority is to strive for the development of women and gender equality.
Vietnam always makes every effort to foster its image as an active and pioneering country in issues relating to gender equality and women empowerment. Vietnam has proposed and taken the lead in drafting various gender equality initiatives such as the Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change with a focus on women’s rights (2018), and the UNSC Resolution 1889 on Women and Peace and Security (2009). In particular, Vietnamese female officers have been deployed to UN peace-keeping missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, with higher representation than the UN’s recommended percentage. The female bomb disposal squad of Quang Tri province in central Vietnam has overcome countless difficulties and dangers over many years to bring safety to a land once heavily polluted with bombs.
These persistent efforts have laid the groundwork for Vietnam to become one of the fastest countries in eliminating gender disparity in the last 20 years, as well as in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal on Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women. Efforts are underway to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the objectives on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
Recently, to counter the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has continuously issued numerous policies to assist people and businesses in hardship, with various institutional breakthroughs in terms of eligibility and procedures, with priority given to women and girls. To date, three support packages, worth 5.5 billion USD, have been provided.
To help the economy overcome difficulties, keep up with the global economic recovery and create favorable conditions for the next phase in socio-economic development, Vietnam is focusing on implementing the Socio-Economic Recovery and Development Program. This includes various priority policies to support women and girls in healthcare, education, employment, income, and violence prevention. In addition, Vietnam is actively improving policies and laws to facilitate women’s participation in the economy, and in the development of SMEs. Women’s involvement in areas with high added value such as science and technology, high-quality agriculture, among others, is encouraged via effective solutions.
At this year’s Summit, let us share our best practices and inspiring stories from our countries, so that we may learn from one another and spread the positive energy and success stories for the sake of the community.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Government and people of Thailand for their warm hospitality. Thank you, Madam President, for your deep affections and your invitation to Vietnam to this Summit. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak at this important Opening Ceremony.
May our Summit be a great success.