Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh delivers a keynote speech at the 2017 APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (Photo: VNA)

Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) –
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh has voiced her hope that with joint efforts, one day, there won’t be any barriers and bias against women, and female leaders in businesses and economic organisations will make up 50 percent and even higher of the total number.

She made the remark while delivering a keynote speech at the 2017 APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy, entitled “Women Entrepreneurs Forum: She Means Business”, in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, on September 28.

In Vietnam, women account for 48 percent of the workforce and play a very important role in the economy, she noted, citing the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016 as showing that the Southeast Asian nation ranked 65th among 144 countries in terms of gender gap and 33rd in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity.


Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh (Photo: VNA)

The rate of women serving as business directors or owners in Vietnam is estimated at 25 percent, and enterprises run by them play an increasingly important role in the local economy.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, about 1.2 million people of working age were unemployed in 2016, accounting for some 2.3 percent of the workforce.  The unemployment rate among women was higher than among men.

Vice President Thinh called on all people in the society, both men and women and in both the public and private sectors, to gain full understanding of women’s capacity and role. They need to support women to contribute to the national economy, the country and the whole society.

Each economy should build and perfect their legal system on gender equality so as to create a legal foundation and agencies for implementing women empowerment measures. On that basis, businesses and economic organisations can design strategies and support policies to encourage women’s engagement in economic, financial and social spheres, she said.

She also underscored that only women themselves can decide what they need to do to meet growing economic demand amid the changing world. “Women must always be aware of, accept and dare to overcome difficulties and challenges to move forwards.”

In her address, Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women, urged the APEC member economies to do more to empower women and girls in every way so that they realise their own potential, and the APEC member economies in turn should take full advantage of women power and the vast reservoir of capabilities they represent.
Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women (Photo: VNA)

“Women’s economic empowerment is the right and smart investment and also an indispensable one,” she stressed, noting that it is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognises that women’s full and equal participation in the economy as a vital step toward achieving sustainable development.

APEC member economies individually and as a grand trade, investment, business and economic cooperation partnership must and is poised to contribute vitally to a Planet 50-50 by 2030 and this is the determination this forum should demonstrate and inspire.

She quoted Vietnam’s late President Ho Chi Minh as saying that: “With their heartfelt efforts, our women – both young and old – have built and woven the country of Vietnam to make it even more beautiful”.

Lakshmi Puri added: “Women bring not only heartfelt efforts and poetic beauty for nation building but amazing productive capacity and talent for remarkable results for economic prosperity of countries, of regions and the world. And they can do even greater when empowered and enabled!”

During the APEC public-private dialogue, participants discussed women’s economic, financial and social inclusion, women entrepreneurs in a changing global market, promotion of women’s entrepreneurship in the digital age, and building of a vision for women’s economic empowerment for Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Delegates take photo at the event (Photo: VNA)

The event was also attended by the World Bank's Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region Victoria Kwakwa, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc, and about 600 delegates from APEC economies.

The APEC public-private dialogue was part of the ongoing 2017 APEC Women and the Economy Forum, themed “Enhancing women’s economic inclusion and empowerment in the changing world”, in Hue city. It was part of a series of activities throughout the APEC Year 2017 in Vietnam.

Established in 1989, the 21-economy APEC’s primary goal is to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.-VNA