Unilever Vietnam to empower one million women for an inclusive future

November 01, 2022 | 19:09
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In a continuation of their 15-year collaboration, Unilever Vietnam and the Vietnam Women’s Union have signed a strategic 5-year partnership to 2027 to empower over one million women through multiple key missions. The partnership is expected to narrow the gender gaps across many fields, underpinning sustainable development in Vietnam.

Women as a force for sustainable development

Vietnam's female workforce currently stands at 24.1 million, equivalent to 46.8 per cent of the national labour force. Reports on gender and the labour market also show positive signs – over 70 per cent of working-age Vietnamese women are participating in the labour market, a figure that is considerably higher than the global average (47.2 per cent) and the Asia-Pacific average (43.9 per cent).

In addition, women remain the family’s primary caregivers while playing a major role in the country’s healthcare system. Women keep playing an important role in protecting the country’s environment and 90 per cent of informal waste collectors in Vietnam are women.

The above proves that women are a force for sustainable development in economic, social, and environmental respects. Therefore, it is essential to unlock women’s full potential and drive gender equality, which is the foundation for the nation’s future.

Women are often called the weaker gender, however, in them lies a hidden soft strength – that of patience, resilience, and perseverance. Women not only shoulder economic responsibility and organise material life, but they also breed and grow happiness for their families. Happy and growing families underpin a strong and sustainable country. In short, women are the force for the nation’s socioeconomic and environmental sustainability.

Unilever Vietnam to empower 1 million women
Nguyen Thi Bich Van sharing at the signing ceremony between Unilever Vietnam and the Vietnam Women’s Union

Unilever Vietnam’s chairwoman Nguyen Thi Bich Van said, "To help implement the government’s goals of green, sustainable, equal, and inclusive growth, it is crucial to unlock Vietnamese women’s potential and drive gender equality.”

A firm commitment and bold actions

To continually generate momentum driving towards sustainable, balanced, and holistic growth, the partnership between Unilever Vietnam and the Vietnam Women’s Union for the 2022-2027 period has set a goal to facilitate 1 million Vietnamese women to grow and improve their quality of life through education and training on health, hygiene, and nutrition, as well as entrepreneurship and access to business micro-financing funds.

Specifically, the partnership aims to promote communication and education and raise awareness for women about healthcare, nutrition, food safety, clean water, environmental sanitation, waste collection and classification, and the reduction of plastic waste in production and daily life.

It includes assisting women in strengthening their economic power, confidence in entrepreneurship, and access to micro-finance loans and jobs to increase incomes. This is achieved through education and training courses, sustainable livelihood models, a network of start-up mentors to support women, micro-financial loans, and digital learning materials.

The programme will maintain the microfinance initiative Fresh Start Fund to help women gain access to loans and develop sustainable businesses while enhancing living conditions and the quality of life for themselves and their family members.

In addition, the collaboration will also facilitate the enhancement of gender equality in communities, workplaces, and families by eliminating social prejudices and helping improve the competency of the Women’s Union members at all levels to help it operate professionally and efficiently.

Unilever Vietnam to empower 1 million women
“Women Do Business” programme 2022 launching

Furthermore, the Women Do Business programme by Sunlight (collaborating with the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Vietnam Women’s Academy, and Meta Vietnam) will continue to improve training models and equip more women with practical business knowledge via onsite training classes, online courses, and online learning on Facebook.

The close cooperation between Unilever Vietnam and the Vietnam Women’s Union since 2006 has also delivered many positive outcomes in empowering women and contributing to gender equality. Over 100,000 women have been offered business training, 125 start-up projects have been sponsored, 50,000 households have gained a total amount of over $15.2 million in financial microloans, and 3.7 million women have been educated on hygiene, nutrition, and health.

All these are setting up a firm foundation upon which the cooperation relationship between the government and the private sector is further promoted in order to enhance gender equality to contribute to Vietnam’s sustainable growth in the future.

Ton Ngoc Hanh, alternate member of the CPV Central Committee and vice president of the Vietnam Women’s Union appointed by the Central Committee said, “We believe that the partnership between the Vietnam Women’s Union and Unilever Vietnam will lead to a lot of positive outcomes through supporting women’s economic growth, health, and well-being, thereby enhancing women’s role and contributing to the success of the 13th National Women's Congress’ Resolution, gender equality, and the overall growth of the country.”

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By Kim Hang

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