Australia deepens engagement with Vietnam on gender equality

16:25 | 13/06/2019 Society

(VEN) - Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on empowering women in diplomacy between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

australia deepens engagement with vietnam on gender equality

The bilateral MOU signing ceremony on empowering women in diplomacy for Vietnam in Hanoi on June 12

Under the MOU, Australian and Vietnamese leaders, policy makers and diplomats will come together in an annual forum to exchange approaches and experiences for promoting women’s leadership in international diplomacy. Australia and Vietnam aim to promote understanding of gender equity principles among male and female officers serving in Vietnam’s foreign service, and to strengthen the skills and capabilities of Vietnam’s women diplomats.

Minister Payne also announced new initiatives to advance gender equality in Vietnam.

The Australian Government will provide $0.66 million to UN Women to support the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) with the development of Vietnam’s next ten-year National Strategy for Gender Equality 2021-2030. The Strategy will set targets for Vietnam’s progress on gender equality in the coming decade, aligned with anticipated economic and social trends.

Australia’s Investing in Women program will be extended for a second, four year phase, with Australia committing over $58 million for the program across four target countries (Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar). Investing in Women aims to improve women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs. In Vietnam, the new funding will support more businesses to improve their workplace gender equality policies and practices, increase impact investment in women-owned small and medium enterprises, and support local organisations to influence attitudes to workplace gender equality.

australia deepens engagement with vietnam on gender equality
Australian Ambassador Craig Chittick visiting Son Ha company and the beneficiaries of cinnamon project in Nam Det Commune, Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province (GREAT program)

Forty new partnerships with the private sector, civil society and government will improve economic opportunities for rural and ethnic minority women in north-west Vietnam. The partnerships, with total Australian funding of $10.4 million, will be delivered through Australia’s Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) program.

Minister Payne said Australia is expanding its engagement with Vietnam on women’s empowerment and gender equality, because women are critical to Vietnam’s continued success and economic growth. The empowerment of women and girls is a priority for Australia’s development assistance and a key focus of Australia’s economic partnership with Vietnam.

“Australia’s support for gender equality in Vietnam includes investments that target women’s leadership and skills development, promoting women’s economic participation, and ending violence against women”, said Minister Payne.

Speaking about the signing of the MOU, Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Craig Chittick remarked, “We are honoured that Minister Payne has been able to formalise this important partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on women’s leadership. The endorsement by Australia’s second consecutive female Minister for Foreign Affairs – who also happens to be Minister for Women – augurs well for the initiative.”

My Phung