“From Crisis to Growth: Implications and Opportunities for Women”

This was the theme of a seminar held in Hanoi on August 5 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to a report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Asia, the global economic downturn has made 22 million female workers redundant, including around 8 million women in Southeast Asia. Women mainly work in industries such as garments, footwear, finance and banking which are clearly experiencing a downturn.

Participants in the seminar discussed ways of finding opportunities for women to draw the best lessons from other countries to apply in Vietnam. The seminar was Vietnam’s initiative in response to 2009 World Population Day with the theme” Investing in Women is a Smart Choice”.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dao Viet Trung said that the seminar also identified challenges and opportunities for women in the post-crisis period, especially when Vietnam becomes medium-income country.

The Vietnamese Government has being implementing fiscal and monetary policies and measures to boost production and trade, such as launching stimulus packages as well as giving priority to social welfare and poverty reduction, he said. Vietnam has maintained an economic growth rate of 3.9 percent in the first half of this year and as the UN noted in its recent report, the country has successfully implemented its Millennium Development Goals.

The UN’s Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, John Hendra also called o­n the Vietnamese Government to work together to identify practical and relevant strategies and come up with recommendations to address the immediate needs of women and ensure that it will continue to invest in women and in gender equality in general.