The forum is part of the joint activities by the VWU and SNV to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by women in startup, thereby proposing solutions and policy recommendations to promote women-owned enterprises in particular and gender equality in general in Vietnam.
Speaking at the forum, Politburo member and Head of the Party Central Committee's Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh praised the outstanding achievements by Vietnamese women, especially in economic development. He stressed that during the process of building and developing the country, the Party and State always paid special attention to promoting the role of women and gender equality, with a range of specific policies to create favourable conditions for women to develop and promote gender equality, typically the Law on Gender Equality.
Thanks to the right policies and the efforts made by Vietnamese women, the nation has been recognised with a noteworthy level of gender equality compared with other countries at the same level of development, especially regarding women’s economic participation and opportunities. The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report placed Vietnam 69th among 144 nations in terms of gender equality, and 33rd place in the criteria of economic participation and opportunities. At present, Vietnamese women account for nearly 50% of the labour force, whilst operating and managing more than 60% of over 4 million household businesses in rural areas and 28% of the nation’s total enterprises.
Binh stressed that in the near future, the task of economic leadership and development continues to be defined as a central task, and in particular, the private sector is determined to be an important driving force for sustainable development in the socialist-oriented market economy. Vietnam has set the target of having at least 1 million businesses by 2020, while the National Strategy on Gender Equality has set raising the percentage of women leading businesses at 35% or higher by 2020.
The VWU’s project to support women business startup during the 2017-2025 period introduced at the forum. (Credit: phunuvietnam.vn)
The Politburo member asked for a thorough grasp of the Party and State’s policies on women’s role promotion in the accelerated industrialisation and startups, urging the VWU to promote awareness raising activities among women about startups and launch women's startup movements. The relevant authorities need to integrate women’s startup support activities in the involved projects and programmes, he added.
To take advantage of and overcome the challenges in the new open business context, Vietnamese women need to be active in learning and promoting innovation to create new products and services in order to meet the increasing demand of domestic and international markets, while meeting the requirements on environmental protection and safety for the community, Binh suggested.
President of the VWU Nguyen Thi Thu Ha emphasised the importance of connection in business, saying that linking is not just within a specific field, but also a connection among entrepreneurs, scientists and managers, helping Vietnamese enterprises join the global value chain. This is a way for women-owned entrepreneurs to get out of fragmented business models.
At this year's forum, the VWU also introduced its women business startup support project during the 2017-2025 period, with the aim of assisting women in 63 provinces and cities across the nation in starting their own businesses and promoting creativity and connection for ideas and resources.
Delegates at the event had the opportunity to refer to information about the opportunities and challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as startup experience and support for women entrepreneurs from Israel and the Netherlands. Outstanding startup models of Vietnamese female entrepreneurs were also analysed to seek solutions for capacity building for women business startups.