Women’s International Democratic Federation and the VWU’s participation

The Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), one of the biggest women’s non-governmental organisations in the world, was founded on 1st December 1945 from the struggles of the democratic women’s movement against fascism in the Second World War for a world of peace without arms race.

In the first years of the 90’s decades, after the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the socialist countries in Eastern Europe, WIDF had experienced a serious crisis period and faced with many difficulties. To address the critical needs o­n preventing all forms of discrimination and violence against women and to prepare for WIDF’s participation at the 4th World Conference o­n Women in Beijing, China, several faithful women members associations of WIDF, including Vietnam Women’s Union, regrouped and decided to organize the 11th WIDF Congress as a revival Congress in 1994 in Paris. Since then, WIDF’s role and position has ever been strengthened and developed. Its affiliated members increases from 68 in 1994 to nearly 300 members from 129 countries from all continents. WIDF’s activities have proven more responsive to women’s concerns.


In April 1998, WIDF successfully organised the Solidarity Meeting by the international women with women in Cuba against American embargo. Also in this year, WIDF organised its 12th Congress in France with 12 themes o­n women’s critical issues such as poverty, violence, arm conflicts, employment, health and education...


With the slogan “Acting for a just peace and equal rights, women will play their roles in the fight against neo-liberal globalization”, the 13th WIDF Congress took place in Beirut, Lebanon (in November 2002) to show WIDF support and solidarity to women in the Middle East. This Congress also marked a major change in the personnel of the Direction Board after 2 terms with 1 new President and 4 vice-presidents. This reflects WIDF’s efforts to strengthen its activities and its influences as well as to develop its membership in all regions.


In the spirit of strengthening WIDF, the 1st WIDF Direction Committee Meeting in Cyprus (June 2003) has shown its renovation in policies making and working mechanism. The Meeting has mapped out its new directions to strengthen WIDF network in all regions. In this regard, VWU volunteers to host the 2nd WIDF Direction Committee Meeting in Vietnam in November 2003. This is the first time ever since, WIDF Direction Committee Meeting takes place in Vietnam.


Joining WIDF in Autumn 1946 at the introduction of the late President Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Women’s Union has been always affiliated with WIDF. VWU was hounoured to have Madame Ha Thi Que, former leader of VWU elected as WIDF Vice-President for 1975-1976 and Madame Nguyen Thi Dinh, late VWU President elected also as WIDF Vice-President for 1976-1991. Especially, o­n the occasion of the 70th birthday, Mme Dinh was conferred Eugenie Cotton Medal-the highest award of WIDF.

In the struggle for the national liberation by the Vietnamese people, WIDF actively advocated women and people all over the world to extend their solidarity and support to Vietnam through its activities such as taking the International Women’s Day-8th March, the Children’s International Day-1st June or its foundation Day- 1stDecember as the International Days to support Vietnam. At the WIDF Conference in October 1964 in Bulgaria, WIDF took initiative to establish the World Committee for Vietnam to promote the solidarity by women from the 5 continents with Vietnam. The Hanoi Gynecological and Obstetric Hospital donated by WIDF to the Vietnamese women in early 80’s decade is the symbol of solidarity of WIDF and women in the world toward Vietnam in the post-war national reconstruction.


As a long time member of WIDF and its representative in Asian-Pacific Region, VWU has made considerable contributions to WIDF activities. VWU advocates its members in the region as well as VWU at all levels to participate in the activities launched by WIDF such as Solidarity Meeting by international women in Cuba (in April 1998). o­n this occasion, VWU had offered Cuban women some donation by Vietnamese women; Organising a Campaign for signature collection and March against poverty and violence against women (in 2000) which had involved participation of millions of women. At the same time, VWU always makes its efforts to fulfill its role in WIDF Committee, actively participating in the WIDF Congresses and Direction Committee Meetings, paying full membership fee and financial support to the 11th, 12th and 13thWIDF Congress with a total amount of US$6,000; sharing its view, information, experiences, recommendations to WIDF, supporting the just struggle for the national independence and sovereignty by women in other countries...VWU often exchanges and updates information of such meetings and activities launched by WIDF to its regional affiliated members. In Feb. 2002, VWU, for the 1st time, hosted successfully the 1st Asian-Pacific Regional Meeting in Hanoi with the participation of 6 among 12 affiliated members. The Meeting had made some valuable contributions to the 13th WIDF Congress.


On the occasion of the 2nd WIDF Direction Committee Meeting in Hanoi in Nov. 2003, VWU organises the 2nd Asian Pacific Regional Meeting in accordance to the WIDF Direction to strengthen WIDF network and extend its influence in the region.


The Vietnamese people and women are very grateful to WIDF and its affiliated members for their mental and material support to the Vietnamese people and women over time. Therefore, the Vietnamese women and VWU always indicate their faithful and close tie to WIDF as well as accomplishment of its duty in WIDF Direction Committee. Participating in WIDF‘s activities with full mental and material support given to WIDF is the ethics, sentiment and responsibility of VWU.