Inspired by the global theme for IWD 2019 - Think equal, build smart, innovate for change – the event launched a national competition ‘Technologies for Equality’ to promote the application of technologies to empower rural women’s lives. The Vice Minister for the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Mr. Bui The Duy, was special guest at the event.

A woman of the Muong ethnic group introduces her tea product to Irish Ambassador to Vietnam.

Jointly funded by Australia and Ireland, the event launched a national competition for concepts and innovations beneficial for rural women. The competition is managed by the Women’s Initiative for Start-ups and Entrepreneurship (WISE). The objectives of the national competition are to: a) sponsor potential high impact technology-related initiatives for the empowerment of rural women; b) provide support for the technologies, and their scale up; c) improve awareness in society of the need for the empowerment of rural women; and d) improve understanding of how technology can be used to reduce poverty and raise living standards for rural communities. The successful entrants will receives prize money (1st prize – AUD 10,000, 2nd prize – AUD 5,000, 3rd prize AUD 3,000). They will also receive acceleration and incubation support for the winning technologies by WISE.

To be eligible, applicants must be a Vietnamese woman (individual, or group led by a woman), residing in Viet Nam, and have a technology-related solution that improves the lives or productivity of rural women. Solutions should be at least at minimum viable product (MVP) stage, and demonstrate that the benefit of the technology can last 3 – 5 years. Applications close on 6 April and the winners will be announced on 21 April 2019 - World Creativity and Innovation Day.

The event showcased technology that has been supported by the two Governments to improve the lives of rural women. The first was a mobile application called Safe Journey – job matching and accommodation advice for migrant women, developed by PLAN International Vietnam with the support of Australia. The second was a tea processing facility supported by the Center for Development and Integration with funding from the Embassy of Ireland, which helps female ethnic minority tea farmers in Muong Do, Son La province to improve post-harvest processing and product quality to meet the Vietfarm standard and make branded and higher value tea products.

Chargé d'Affaires Rebecca Bryant said, “On this day, when we remember and honour the courage of those women who have struggled for the rights of others, Australia believes it is important that rural women benefit from our empowerment efforts. We are looking forward to competition entries that bolster rural women’s lives.” 

Ambassador Moran said, “Gender equality is at the heart of Ireland’s newly launched policy for international development, A Better World. As part of Irish Aid’s support to rural ethnic minority women in Vietnam, Ireland is delighted to support this innovative competition which will give Vietnamese women an opportunity to unleash their innate creativity.”

Vice Minister Duy noted that, “the event today was more meaningful with the launch of the competition ‘Technologies for Equality’. I understand that it aims to unearth and support innovative solutions to ensure rural women and girls can fully participate and prosper in the workforce and the economy.”

Reported by Binh Chau