Women-led businesses on the rise hinh anh 1Up to 98.9 percent of women-owned businesses are small-and medium-sized ones. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) –
The number of women-owned businesses increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2018, according the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). 

As of September 2019, Vietnam had 285,689 enterprises run by women, making up 24 percent of total firms in the country, the highest rate in Southeast Asia.

However, the VCCI said up to 98.9 percent of women-owned businesses are small-and medium-sized ones, and 61.4 percent are operating in the service sector.

Businesswomen often meet difficulties relating to gender and restricted access to resources, information-technology, knowledge, skills and business network.

Therefore, prompting women’s economic empowerment is one of the important objectives of the Australian-funded programme called Aus4Reform.

The programme, worth 6.5 million AUD (about 4.9 million USD), supports the Vietnamese Government to achieve its targets of improving the business environment and moving Vietnam towards a more market-based economy.

Aus4Reform is built on the reform momentum achieved through previous Australian-supported programmes, including “Beyond WTO” and “Restructuring for a more Competitive Vietnam”. It assists the development and implementation of economic policies, laws and institutions critical to helping Vietnam’s economy meet its potential.

The four-year programme will run until 2021. It aims to help the country register 1 million new formal private enterprises by 2020, increase the percentage of women-led enterprises, accelerate the growth in private sector employment, strengthen property rights, develop more competitive factor markets and improve enforcement of competition policy, facilitating Vietnam’s regional and international economic integration.

The programme promotes the gathering of evidence to understand the link between supporting women’s economic empowerment and accelerating productivity growth, especially in rural areas, to strengthen Vietnamese Government reform initiatives.

Within the framework of the programme, the VCCI has conducted a report on women-led businesses’ assessment of business environment in 63 cities and provinces.

Women-led businesses on the rise hinh anh 2Within the framework of the programme, the VCCI has conducted a report on women-led businesses’ assessment of business environment in 63 cities and provinces (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The report unveiled that 68.6 percent of businesswomen hold bachelor and master degrees, as compared with 71.9 percent of men.

According to the report, 64 percent of women-owned firms have generated profits while that among enterprises led by men is 63 percent.

The report, however, pointed out difficulties and challenges facing women, mainly the pressure of balancing business and family tasks, along with prejudice of women’s role in business.

Given this, the report suggested competent agencies increase women’s empowerment and training in order to raise their confidence and eliminate gender discrimination.

Women should receive encouragement to carry forward their strength and independence, said Dau Anh Tuann, head of the VCCI’s Legal Department.

Women-led businesses on the rise hinh anh 3Illustrative image (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Vietnam aims to have 350,000 women-owned firms by 2020, meaning the number of female entrepreneurs must triple in the next three years, a rate even faster than the overall growth speed of business volume nationwide.

In Vietnam, women earn, on average, 3 million VND (129 USD) less than men each year, and the promotion rate among women is half of men’s.

A study by McKinsey Global Institute showed that equality for women would add some 40 billion USD to Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually by 2025.

Vietnam has recorded gender equality achievements in political and economic sectors since the Law on Gender Equality took effect.

The Law on Gender Equality was approved by the Vietnamese National Assembly in 2006 and took effect in 2007. This marked a progressive step towards ensuring gender equality in Vietnam.

Vietnam ranked 77th out of 149 countries in terms of progress towards gender parity in the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 of the World Economic Forum.

The report measured countries in four categories – economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health survival; and political empowerment.

Of these four, Vietnam ranked highest in economic participation and opportunity, with a score of 0.74, 33rd globally.

According to the World Economic Forum, Vietnam experienced a decrease in gender parity for women in ministerial positions and fully closed the gender gap among its technical and professional workers. Likewise, equal opportunities were recorded for enrolment in tertiary education sectors./.