According to the ambassador, since 2010, the two countries have begun to explore areas of common interest to promote gender equality through development cooperation.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski

He recalled that at that time, Vietnam was ranked 72nd out of 134 countries in the World Economic Forum's 2010 Gender Gap Report and 33rd in terms of women's economic opportunities and participation. This is an impressive achievement for a country that just escaped poverty and war, the diplomat said.

In 2015, Vietnam succeeded in reducing its birth mortality rate by two-thirds and was considered a global success story for gender equality in terms of access to basic education.

Cooperation between the two countries in the early stage focused on women's access to essential service. Australia supported MSI Reproductive Choices in expanding access to health services in rural districts and connecting women in rural areas to information and products related to sexual and reproductive health. It also assisted CARE International in carrying out microfinance and income generation projects to improve livelihoods of women in rural areas.

During this decade, Australia Awards Scholarship programme encouraged Vietnamese women to pursue their higher education in Australia. In 2014, the number of women receiving scholarships surpassed that of men, which has continued until now. Australia's educational partnership with the Vietnam Center for Gender Studies and Women's Leadership (GeLEAD) at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics designed extracurricular programmes to support women's participation in leadership programmes.

Ambassador Goledzinowski noted that the launch of Australia's Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Strategy in 2016 enhanced the two sides’ cooperation on gender equality. The two sides' gender equality projects have become larger in scale and reach and bilateral partnerships developed strongly.

He shared that Australia has supported Vietnam in amending the 2007 Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control. He went on to say that Vietnam is recognised for the economic mobility of women, so women's economic empowerment is a strong area of cooperation between the two countries. Australia supports enhancing the role of women in production and market development, especially in agriculture and tourism in Lao Cai and Son La provinces while removing their barriers to information, networks, and technology.

The ambassador noted that Australia, along with Vietnam, is currently paying attention to gender aspects in high priority agendas such as climate change and energy transition, digitalisation and innovation, trade agreements, among others. By highlighting gender implications of policy choices in these areas, decisions can expand access to better opportunities and protect against negative impacts on Vietnamese girls and women. Supporting gender equality enhances the country's prosperity and stability, he said.

He concluded that Australia pledges to cooperate with Vietnam to continue to promote gender equality and move towards equality for the two countries.

Source: VNA