Acting Together, Growing Stronger in New Reality

2:24:54 PM | 11/14/2022

 “Acting Together - Growing Stronger in the New Reality” is the theme of the Women CEOs Summit 2022, recently held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC) and attended by nearly 500 delegates, both physically in Hanoi and virtually via domestic and international video conferencing points.

Fostering gender equality and enhancing women's economic empowerment

Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan said, the summit is a forum for parties to share experiences and discuss methods to foster gender equality, increase economic empowerment, and promote the role of women, including entrepreneurs, as the world economy continues to face new challenges.

She emphasized that, in the past years, with the common development and progress of mankind and the effort of countries, the position of women in ASEAN has been significantly elevated by enhancing gender equality cooperation and women's empowerment; upholding women's entrepreneurship and skills development; creating a favorable environment for women-owned enterprises; increasing women's representation and leadership; and encouraging public-private partnership.

Politically, currently women make up more than 30% of all National Assembly (NA) deputies, while women leaders in ministerial or equivalent agencies account for 50%. Economically, women make up 47%-48% of the workforce in Vietnam and women-led companies account for 27%, including many leading giant firms.

However, a majority of women-owned enterprises are small and micro-sized, she noted. Therefore, in the face of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, energy and food crises and non-traditional security challenges, women-owned businesses are confronting numerous difficulties, especially in accessing information, markets and financial services, attracting human resources, and applying science, technology and digital transformation in order to adapt to universal trends for existence and development.

Therefore, she hoped that, through the summit, economic experts, policymakers and women entrepreneurs from ASEAN countries and the world will contribute initiatives and recommendations of practical value, not only for women-owned companies but also for governments and trade promotion and support agencies, as well as national and regional networks of women entrepreneurs. This will consequently help strengthen connectivity and cooperation to overcome difficulties and challenges together, recover production and business, grow and develop sustainably in the new context for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient ASEAN community.

Act together, grow stronger

According to VCCI President Pham Tan Cong, Vietnamese women make up 50.2% of the population and 49% of the labor force. The rate of women-owned enterprises in Vietnam ranks second in ASEAN (according to the UN WOMEN Report in 2021). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for more than 90% of total active enterprises, are largely owned by women, contribute 40% of the country’s GDP, and create millions of jobs for workers. Women entrepreneurs have importantly assisted the overall socioeconomic development achievements of the country. “During the extremely difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, women entrepreneurs were very brave, decisive and flexible to lead their businesses to achieve high growth, and actively carry out social responsibility, especially financing and supporting COVID-19 prevention efforts,” he noted.

Despite being a nascent market economy, Vietnam has had women entrepreneurs named “Top Asias’50 Power Businesswomen” and "Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs", he added. Especially on Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Day, on October 13, 2022, among 60 outstanding entrepreneurs honored as “Outstanding Vietnamese Entrepreneurs” by VCCI, 15 were female, or 25%, with two named outstandingly excellent women entrepreneurs in the Top 10.

A new era is opening up ahead for Vietnamese and international businesspeople. The green economy and circular economy trends are becoming the main flows where science, technology and innovation continue to be driving forces for sustainable business development. Vietnam continues to deeply integrate into the world economy and the world is increasingly interconnected and interdependent; therefore, it is necessary to unite, act together, grow together and work together to succeed and develop. What is especially important to businesses today, especially women-owned ones, includes restructuring business operations, responding to crises, applying technologies to expand and develop businesses, strengthening cooperation and getting connected to overcome current and potential challenges together and achieve sustainable business development.

“VCCI is committed to supporting and acting to promote initiatives and strengthen support for women-led enterprises, creating a favorable business environment for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs to boost development, enhance competitiveness and increase flexible adaptability; reinforce connectivity between women-owned Vietnamese enterprises with domestic and international partners,” said VCCI President.

Within the framework of the summit, eight Vietnamese businesswomen were honored with the “Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Awards” and two were honored with the “ASEAN Awards for Women Entrepreneurs 2022”.

Anh Mai