Ms. Tai Thi Mai is a bright example. This Pa Then ethnic woman is now the director of Tan Bac brocade weaving cooperative in My Bac village, Tan Bac commune, Quang Binh district, Ha Giang province. She is daily busy with orders.

The cooperative was founded in 2017 with ten skilled women with passion about weaving and flower embroidery. Thanks to the effective and meaningful operation, the cooperative now has 15 members.

Tan Bac Brocade Weaving Cooperative, founded by Ms. Tai Thi Mai, has created jobs for many local women.

Talking to us, Ms. Tai Thi Mai said that in the past, the life of the Pa Then people was extremely difficult all year round despite their great efforts. To help increase local people’s income and preserve the  beautiful cultural identity of her people, Mai and other Pa Then ethnic women established the cooperative. Since then, their lives have changed and become more stable.

Acknowledging that brocade weaving is a traditional profession handed down through generations of the Pa Then people and that developing traditional brocade weaving is to help ethnic women learn more while preserving culture and getting close to community tourism development, Ms. Mai has researched and learned how to sell products and promote them on social media.

As a result, the cooperative's brocade products have been not only marketed locally but also to other provinces and cities throughout the country, thereby helping its members earn an income of over VND 4 million per month. This is a significant source of income that helps the cooperative members improve their lives and invest in production and develop their families’ economy.

Like Ms. Mai, Ms. Sung Thi Lan, Director of Muong Hoa Cooperative in Ta Van commune, Sa Pa town, Lao Cai province has succeeded in developing a community-based tourism model. Ms. Lan recalled that realizing that Sa Pa is a tourist land, with the potential to develop unique cultural values of the locality, such as sewing, embroidery, dyeing, and more, in 2018 she decided to established Muong Hoa Cooperative to restore the traditional dyeing and weaving and increase income for women in the village.

After 5 years, the cooperative has created jobs to many women in Ta Van commune. Apart from stable income of VND 3 million to 5 million, local women have preserved the national cultural identity.

Ms. Lan has organized many tours for customers to help them better understand the difference and the cultural value of the cooperative’s products, during which they learn about the process of creating a handmade product and experience local practical activities, such as beeswax drawing, herbs molding, and indigo dyeing.

Ms. Tai Thi Mai and Ms. Sung Thi Lan are among exemplary successful women in today's society. Their successes prove positive changes in enhancing the role of women, especially ethnic women.

According to statistics, ethnic women currently account for 49.8% of the total of more than 14.2 million ethnic people nationwide. Their role and position have been remarkably changed and recognized in society compared with those in the past when their life was closely attached to homework, embroidery, care for children, and having little contact with the outside world.

To help ethnic women promote their strengths and be active in life, thereby improving their knowledge, economic mastery, and gradually approaching development opportunities, the Prime Minister issued Decision No.1719/QD-TTg dated October 14, 2021 on approving the national target program for socio-economic development in ethnic and mountainous areas for the 2021-2030 period with the first phase from 2021-2025.

Accordingly, from 2021 to the end of 2025, the program will implement 10 projects, including a special project for ethnic women to implement gender equality and solving urgent issues for women and children (Project 8). The project focuses on raising awareness, changing prejudices, taking care of material and spiritual lives, protecting and taking care of women and children, and realizing gender equality goals.

Talking to us, Dr. Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, emphasized that with the rising efforts of ethnic women in recent years, the position and role of ethnic women have been raised increasingly.

Over the past years, many ethnic women have held high positions. Some have been leaders and deputies of the National Assembly.

Actually, in ethnic areas, if women are encouraged and supported with production models, they can master their lives and promote economic development. Therefore, it is necessary to give more opportunities for ethnic women to participate equally in the labor market so as to improve their employment and economic status.

Translated by Chung Anh