Promoting the private sector in exercising gender equality
Leaders of some top businesses in Vietnam on October 22 signed the commitment to supporting the women’s empowerment principles (WEPs), an initiative of the UN Women and the UN Global Compact.
This event highlights the joint efforts of all parties to promote the roles of private sector, of the senior business leaders pioneering in making prosperous businesses, towards a prosperous and sustainable economy well-grounded by gender equality.
“Ring the Bell – For a Prosperous and Sustainable Economy” is an initiative of Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC-VCCI), UN Women and the European Union in Vietnam with a view to calling for the business community to join hands and promoting the private sector in exercising gender equality. 13 business leaders have signed the CEO's Statement of Support for the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) at the event.
The WEPs consists of seven steps that businesses can carry out to empower women and promote gender equality in the workplace, the market, and the community.
At the event, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s strong impact on the global economy, including Vietnam, domestic businesses, especially those owned by women and employing large female workforce, have braved difficulties to substantially contribute to the realisation of the Government’s twin targets of containing the outbreak and boosting socio-economic development.
There are about 200,000 women-owned enterprises in Vietnam at present, accounting for 25 percent of the total. Notably, women run about 30 percent of small- and micro-sized firms and over 50 percent of household businesses.
He noted that the three most important driving forces for the development of an economy in the future is micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, women, and the internet. The economy will enjoy breakthroughs if all these three are promoted.
A number of policies have been issued to encourage and support women-owned companies. However, their implementation still faces an array of difficulties, Loc said, pointing out the failure to reach the target of raising the rate of women-owned companies to 35 percent by 2020.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, President of the VCCI’s Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council, said without women’s active, responsible, and creative participation, the economy in general and businesses in particular will lack conditions to promote sustainable development.
According to head of UN Women Office in Vietnam Elisa Fernandez Saenz, “Women account for half of the population. An economy that underutilize women’s talents are missing out half of the available human resources."
She cited the finding by a McKinsey Global Institute study that 12 trillion USD could be added to the global GDP by 2025 by advancing gender equality.
Vietnam has obtained considerable outcomes in promoting gender equality, yet this is still a big challenge to the country. Women-owned businesses are facing many obstacles to engaging in business activities, including limited accessibility to resources and family- and business-based gender bias, she added.