Vietnamese women entrepreneurs and government bodies convene to propose inclusive policies
At the SheTrades Outlook workshop in Hanoi, government bodies and women entrepreneurs discussed data and policy gaps, as they looked at how to support women to do business and trade.
In 2022, the International Trade Centre (ITC) collected data from 24 public and private institutions in Viet Nam to assess the policy environment and how it supports women entrepreneurs. Viet Nam’s country data is accessible on SheTrades Outlook, ITC’s online tool that allows stakeholders to explore and compare how countries are addressing gender in trade policies and practices.
The workshop on 29 November 2023 aimed to build on the findings from SheTrades Outlook. ‘Dialogues, like this workshop, are important to raise awareness about existing initiatives, identify areas for collaboration and involve more women in trade policy discussions,’ said Judith Fessehaie, Head of SheTrades Initiative.
The event was delivered by the SheTrades Commonwealth+ programme, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), ITC and the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE).
The workshop brought together 40 representatives from women’s business associations, business and trade support institutions and government agencies responsible for trade, women’s affairs, agriculture, finance, ICT, education, labour, public procurement, and statistics.
Participants discussed the results from SheTrades Outlook, with a focus on identifying priority areas for improvement. Viet Nam has an opportunity to:
Incorporate gender equality issues in free trade agreements
Strengthen the collection of gender-disaggregated data on exporting firms, public procurement vendors, and participants of skills training programmes and users of business and trade support services; and
Adopt a preferential public procurement scheme for women-led businesses.
‘ITC SheTrades looks forward to collaborating with the government of Viet Nam to develop or reform policies, based on the recommendations from public and private sector stakeholders,’ shared Gem Arbo, SheTrades Outlook Coordinator at ITC.
Lastly, participants shared experiences in incorporating gender equality issues in policies and programmes in Viet Nam. This helped to raise the awareness of various institutions and women’s groups on good practices and to explore synergies among ongoing initiatives on women’s economic empowerment.
‘Good practices from women’s associations have also been identified. The Viet Nam Women’s Union helped implement the National Strategy on Gender Equality by supporting business innovation by women-led businesses and cooperatives,’ remarked Thi Hong Minh, SheTrades Outlook National Consultant at ITC.
About ITC SheTrades Outlook
SheTrades Outlook is an ITC’s policy tool that promotes more inclusive policies and data. Through 55 indicators and 6 pillars, the tool helps stakeholders assess, monitor, and improve the institutional ecosystem for women’s participation in business and international trade.
Informed by data and evidence from the tool and recommendations from stakeholders during validation workshops, ITC has supported 14 governments across the world to develop gender-responsive trade and trade-related policies. This includes mainstreaming gender into national trade and export strategies, SME policies, African Continental Free Trade Agreement national implementation strategies, public procurement policies and regulations, and banking regulations and strategic plans, and to adopt internationally recognized definitions of women-led and women-owned businesses.
Policymakers and other stakeholders can find more details on the results and recommendations in the SheTrades Outlook Viet Nam policy brief, available on the online tool.
ITC invites additional countries in the Southeast Asian region and across the world, to join SheTrades Outlook. For more information, please visit https://outlook.shetrades.com or contact womenandtrade [at] intracen.org (womenandtrade[at]intracen[dot]org).