ASEAN Women CEO Summit: Developing a stronger and more responsive community of regional women entrepreneurs

Businesswomen should seize opportunities from the fourth Industrial Revolution and capitalise on ASEAN countries’ support in order to develop strongly and sustainably for a stronger and more responsive community of regional women entrepreneurs," said Vietnamese Vice President.

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh delivers a speech at the ASEAN Women CEO Summit in Hanoi on November 9. Photo: VNA

The ASEAN Women CEO Summit was held in Hanoi on November 9 with the theme “Making changes for a stronger and more responsive women entrepreneur community”, VNA reported.

Addressing the summit, held by the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heavy losses to the global economy and ASEAN member nations in particular.

While holding the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship amid the coronavirus outbreak, she noted, Vietnam has exerted every effort to organise a range of activities in conformity with the theme of “Cohesive & Responsive”.

Regional women in general and female entrepreneurs in particular have been greatly inspired by the bloc’s commitment to efforts promoting gender equality and empowering women, made in the Chairman’s Press Statement of the ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session at the 36th ASEAN Summit on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age, held last June, the Vice President said.

Thinh expressed her belief that the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network will become a leading forum for regional businesswomen to lead the entrepreneur community towards economic integration and to remain united to proactively and effectively respond to the impact of the pandemic and climate change.

She also hoped that businesswomen would seize opportunities from the fourth Industrial Revolution and capitalise on ASEAN countries’ support in order to develop strongly and sustainably for a stronger and more responsive community of regional women entrepreneurs.

The summit featured four sessions on the response to COVID-19, the promotion of digital transformation and the comprehensive recovery of women-owned businesses, gender-smart investment, and the promotion of effective cooperation via networks.

A number of recommendations were approved on improving businesswomen’s access to support resources, especially from governments, credit institutions, and social organisations; developing human resources, capacity, access to new technologies, and technological literacy; boosting digital transformation in women-owned enterprises; and building a gender-responsive ecosystem for nurturing enterprises.

The ASEAN Women CEO Summit was held ahead of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, which are scheduled to take place via videoconference from November 12 to 15.

The ASEAN Summit has been scheduled to occur semiannually since the adoption of the charter, bringing together the heads of state of member countries to discuss economic, political, security, and socio-cultural development.

The first ASEAN Summit was held in February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia when the member states expressed readiness to “develop fruitful relations” and mutually beneficial co-operation with other countries of the region.

Gender-equitable and inclusive development is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, with Goal number 5 focused on realizing gender equality and empowering all women and girls. These objectives are also reflected in the strategic blueprint “ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together” and made more achievable through technological changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In 2019, Asian Development Bank Institute, in partnership with AWEN and the Government of Thailand, had co-hosted the First Summit of Women CEOs in ASEAN under the theme “Globalization 4.0 and Beyond: Shaping the Future of Women Enterprises.”

Tu Pham