National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong delivers a speech at the first Asian-European Women’s Forum  (Photo: VNA)
All nations should step up the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on gender equality and improvement of female social scale, National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong said at the first Asian-European Women’s Forum.

Addressing the forum, held in Russia’s St. Petersburg from September 24-25, the Vietnamese legislative leader proposed enhancing technical cooperation and experience sharing among Asian and European nations towards ensuring women and girls’ access to health care, education and other services.

She lauded the Russian Federation Council’s initiative on organising the forum given that in many parts of the world, women’s contributions to political and socio-economic affairs have felt short of their potential, and many of them are suffering from physical and mental abuses. That is not to mention arising problems such as armed conflicts, economic crisis, food insecurity and climate change which are putting more negative impacts on women’s lives.

Vice Chairwoman Phong reported that Vietnam has closely worked with regional countries to protect and promote the rights of women and girls, as well as making active contributions to UN mechanisms and international forums on women.

Vietnam has also worked continuously to improve its legal system on gender equality and has thus far effectively implemented a national master plan and other programmes focusing on the matter, she said.

She cited some figures as examples of the country’s success in promoting gender equality, including a 48 percent of female workers in the local workforce and 24.4 percent of female deputies among the national assembly’s members; 90 percent of female citizens are literate. The network of women entrepreneurs is expanding, helping the nation achieve significant progresses.

The Asian-European Women’s Forum is expected to be organised every three years with an aim to strengthen women’s roles in building a sustainable world. This year, it gathered more than 700 representatives from 85 countries worldwide.

On the sideline of the forum, the NA Vice Chairwoman met with Kazakhstan Secretary of State and head of the National Commission on Women's Affairs and Family Gulshara Abdykalikova, who spoke highly of Kazakhstan-Vietnam relations.

Phong proposed the legislative bodies of the two countries continue their delegation exchanges, support each other at multilateral forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) and the Asian-European parliament federation, and establish a friendship group of parliamentarians to help with parliamentary ties.

Phong also held a meeting with Vyacheslav Makarov, Head of Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, during which she asked the Russian city to share heritage management experience with Vietnam and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese expats living in the city.-VNA