Lifting up ethnic minority women
|The project is raising up livelihood prospects for ethic minority females |
The Gender Responsive Equitable Project, on gender equality through economic empowerment for ethnic women in agriculture and tourism, was created by Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) in cooperation with the Centre for Rural Economy Development several years ago. In that time, it has contributed to increasing income for 400 women in the northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam, most of whom are ethnic minority women.
The special feature of the project is that it does not operate under a specific business model but plays a role of connecting and cooperating with local businesses and state agencies to support jobs for ethnic minority women living mainly in Son La and Lao Cai provinces. These are areas where more than 40 per cent of the population lives in poverty, and cultural differences also create barriers for women to freely and equally participate in economic activities.
Through consulting and assisting local people to develop community-based tourism and agriculture models, GREAT projects have helped more than 80 per cent of ethnic minority women eliminate language capital constraints and prejudice stereotypes about economic dependence and lack of self-determination in the family to become more confident in a new role.
According to Truong Quynh Phuong, a GREAT project officer, the goal of both these projects is to support local women to develop economically, have a stable job and income, and thereby play a role and position in the family. “The women who started from agriculture then switched to tourism shared that they became more connected to each other, often learned from each other, and supported each other in doing business and developing together,” Phuong explained.
Successful models of empowerment
|FrieslandCampina is focused on gender equality |
After 25 years of development in Vietnam, FrieslandCampina, which owns familiar beverage brands such as Dutch Lady, Friso, Fristi, and Yomost, is continuing to make waves after being honoured with its efforts in creating a gender-inclusive workplace.
Receiving the award for the first time, Phan Nam Tran, HR director of FrieslandCampina Vietnam shared, “Improving women’s empowerment and gender equality is one of the top priorities in development of people at Friesland Campina Vietnam. We are very proud that nearly 50 per cent of our management staff and one-third of our board members are female, and that more and more female candidates are joining the company’s Fresher & Management Trainee programme. With these results, we want to become a pioneer and model to spread this spirit to the business community and society.”
A special feature in the working environment of FrieslandCampina Vietnam is that the company always aims at human development as a key factor in building a strong business. From organising training courses that focus on management and leadership skills, win-win thinking, and inspiring female employees to be motivated to develop their jobs and make the right decisions, Friesland Campina Vietnam has successfully raised the position and role of women equal to men.
A representative of the company added, “We want each employee to proactively address any form of discrimination or harassment, and we expect business partners to practice with us. We aim to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women anywhere, because they must have enough rights and equal opportunities to live freely, beautifully, and joyously.”
Nestlé programme spreads positive message
|The NESCAFÉ Plan has helped train teams of coffee farmers |
Gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially in rural areas, are the commitments being implemented by Nestlé Vietnam, with the Sister Nest initiative in collaboration with the Vietnam Women’s Union playing an outstanding role since 2017.
The programme has supported training to improve knowledge of nutrition and business skills, and increased income for 9,000 members in 1,500 communes across 20 cities and provinces, supporting more than 1.5 million rural households.
Dang Thi Nga, chairwoman of the Women’s Union of Hong Quang commune in Hai Duong province, said that through the programme, women in the commune have become more flexible in their work, increased incomes, and become economically independent in the family. Communication skills, nutritional knowledge, and healthcare needs have also been greatly improved. All the information has been shared and discussed through regular association activities.
One of the best examples of gender balance contribution and women’s empowerment across the entire Nestlé value chain is the NESCAFÉ Plan project. It has contributed to enhancing the role and status of women through training a team of female coffee farmers, making them the bridge to convey the project’s farming knowledge and experience to other farmers. The percentage of female farmer group leaders has so far reached 30 per cent of the total number of leaders participating in the project.
In the working environment at Nestlé, the principles of gender equality are shown in the activities of the company’s HR development and empowerment strategy. The proportion of women holding senior management and leadership positions has surpassed the number of men by 50-55 per cent.
“Not only do we make commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment but we also have made these commitments possible through the development of specific HR development policies and strategies. At the same time, we built an equal culture and environment based on the values of respect for differences and the principles of women’s empowerment at our company and across our value chain,” said Truong Bich Dao, HR director of Nestlé Vietnam.
With these achievements, at the end of November, the United Nations Agency on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) awarded WEPs to Nestlé Vietnam for its commitments and achievements in the categories of Community and Industry Engagement and Gender-Inclusive Workplace.
Unilever Vietnam guides inspiring journey
|Unilver picking up yet another award in 2020 |
Not only proud of the dense coverage of Unilever-branded products among Vietnamese families, in recent years Unilever Vietnam has also been considered as a guide, promoting one of the most successful models in achieving gender equality in businesses.
Since 2007, the company has cooperated with the Vietnam Women’s Union to implement programmes to empower women in difficult circumstances in every province with a commitment to invest more than VND240 billion ($10 million). The highlight of the programmes is the financial fund that supports 50,000 women and their families in business with a total loan of about VND350 billion ($15.2 million) as well as health and hygiene education activities. The goal is to provide educational support to five million women by the end of 2025.
Unilever Vietnam also breaks down women’s promotion barriers by building a training and development roadmap, and nominating women to leadership positions with a proportion of female managers of nearly 53 per cent. The company is also increasing maternity leave and providing better care for women with young children.
Unilever Vietnam’s efforts have been recognised with a Committed Leadership Award and a Gender Equality at Work Award through WEPs. The long-term goal of the business is to become a model for successful application of a sustainable business model based on equality, cooperation, and inspiration for enterprises, customers, and retailers to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Besides that, there are efforts to raise consumer awareness about gender equality through product creation and innovation campaigns.
“We want to become an inclusive business to contribute to an equal world, regardless of gender, region, religion, and race. We aim for a world in which every female can create a desired life without being constrained by social stereotypes,” said Unilever Vietnam chairwoman Nguyen Thi Bich Van.