Dear delegates,

Dear distinguish guests,

It is a great pleasure for the Vietnamese women in particular and our country in general to host the 11th APEC Women Leaders’ Network Meeting in the framework of APEC 2006 in Vietnam. On behalf of the Vietnamese government and people, I would like to express my warm welcome to all delegates from member economies to Hanoi to attend this significant meeting.

Dear delegates,


The Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) was founded to promote cooperation among economies in the region for the benefit of people in this. However, these targets can not be met unless the forum has the participation of every strata of people, over half of whom are women.


We think that women have always held a special position in society, regardless of race and geographic area. Thanks to women, generations are preserved, family happiness is retained, and the society developed.


However, originating from historical circumstances, cultural traditions, and human resources, in some places and at some times, gender awareness is still limited. Women’s roles are underestimated and attention to women is inconsiderate. This situation still exists here in Vietnam and in APEC member economies.


Since its foundation 10 years ago, the APEC Women Leaders’ Network has actively operated, provided useful recommendations, and increased the awareness of our leaders and the public in APEC economies about women’s roles and contributions in sustaining socio - economic development. Our work has encouraged them to administer more effective policies and measures to ensure gender equality, promote women’s role and status, and improve their material and spiritual lives.


Yet, in our experience, there are many challenges waiting for us to do in this field, especially the gap between the rich and the poor, the widening digital distance, social evils such as women and child trafficking, prostitution, the high rate of women suffering from hard work and joblessness, and the spreading HIV/AIDS epidemic which is threatening the lives of human beings.


This situation requires all of us, including APEC WLN, to play a significant role and strive our best to implement the goal Towards a Dynamic Community: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Women’s Businesses for Sustainable Development and Prosperity” defined by the Meeting’s theme.


I believe, entering the new decade, the APEC WLN will make greater contributions and propose initiatives to highlight gender equality in APEC’s activities, contributing to making use of advantages, overcoming challenges and ensuring the sustainable development in the region. o­ne of the leading  priorities is to create jobs and equal opportunities for women through the development of micro and medium enterprises. At the same time, attention should be targeted to social issues, protecting women’s legitimate interests and driving back social evils.


In this spirit, I fully welcome the contents discussed at this Meeting such as women entrepreneurs’ role, especially that of micro and medium enterprises, the application of science and technology, and the facilitation of legal environment in the context of globalization.


Dear delegates,


In the overall course of national liberation and new life construction in Vietnam, gender equality and women’s role promotion are our high priority. Gender equality and women’s status in the society are not o­nly clearly defined in our Constitution and legal documents but vividly demonstrated in reality.


Vietnamese women have made great contributions to the fight for national independence and unification, by directly participating in the resistance war, byentering the frontlines o­n behalf of their husbands and children, or by shouldering hard work in the rear, thus deserving to be honored as “heroic, undaunted, faithful and resourceful Vietnamese women”.


In the course of renovation, Vietnamese women continue to play a significant role and have made large contributions. Women now account for 27.3% in the National Assembly, 1 Vice President of State, and 3 Ministers. Many Deputy Ministers and a large number of excellent scientists, teachers, doctors, and entrepreneurs are women. Women have made great contributions to the course of national defense and development.


Fully acknowledging women’s status and role, the State of Vietnam has always paid great attention to women’s lives. The government has established a National Committee for the Advancement of Women and worked out a 10-year (2001-2010) National Strategy o­n the Advancement of Women. 10 of the 22 goals have already been reached, especially job creation for women, reduction of idle time for rural women, illiteracy elimination,the reduction of maternal death, and the increased rate of women in People’s Council.


Dear delegates,


I hope that through the APEC Women Leaders’ Network and other activities which include this Meeting, women in our region will have the opportunity to exchange information, share experiences, and enhance cooperation in order to have greater contributions to APEC’s peace, cooperation, development and prosperity.


Wishing you all good health, happiness and success!


Wishing the Meeting great success!


Thank you