The forum, themed “Gauging Progress and Moving Forward”, formed part of the ongoing 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Hue.
In his opening remarks, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said in the field of transportation, ministers have paid their special attention and given priorities to the WiT initiative for the advancement of women in transportation.
In Vietnam’s transportation sector, only about 25 percent of workforce is women, and the percentage of female leaders is still modest, he noted, adding that over the past years, the country has been making efforts to implement the action plan for the advancement of women in order to foster their involvement in leadership and ensure gender equality in recruitment and education regarding women in this sector.
He highly valued the theme of the 2017 WiT Forum and considered it an opportunity for APEC economies to update and evaluate the work done over the past two years since the second WiT Forum took place in Cebu, the Philippines. It was also a chance for them to share experience and good initiatives and discuss solutions for the WiT initiative, developed for APEC women in transportation.
For her part, US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka said transportation supplies 10 to 20 percent of jobs in APEC economies, but the presence of women working in this sector is below 20 percent.
APEC recognises the importance of women’s economic empowerment, she added, citing the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as saying that if the global gap in workforce participation between men and women is closed, GDP worldwide will grow by nearly 12 percent by 2030.
At the forum, participants listened to the introduction of the APEC WiT Data Framework and Best Practices Initiative, along with voices from the sector’s insiders. They also examined conditions for women in transportation by discussing opportunities, roadblocks and relevant data.
The delegates also shared their own insights, experiences and priorities in a way that can inform future action.
Notably, some representatives of Vietnamese women presented the country’s particular efforts to link rural women to road projects and other transport jobs.
These efforts include a project to increase ethnic minority women’s participation in rural road maintenance in Lao Cai province, and a pilot project to empower women to manage road maintenance in Lao Cai, Quang Binh and Thanh Hoa provinces. Another notable effort is producing helmets specifically for Thai women who traditionally must put their hair in a bun on the top of their heads to show that they are married.
The 2017 WiT Forum was hosted by the US Department of Transportation in coordination with the Ministry of Transport of Vietnam.
Established in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) with 21 economies is the Asia Pacific’s premier economic forum. The primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Vietnam joined APEC in 1998 and is hosting APEC events in 2017 under the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”.