Opening Remarks at Launch of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Administration (WiPPA) of the Ho Chi Minh Academy

Jun 19, 2013

Speaker: Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator
Time:      8:30am – 10:00am
Date:      June 19, 2013
Event:     Launch of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Administration (WiPPA) of the Ho Chi Minh Academy
H.E. Mme.Nguyễn Thị Doan – Vice President of Vietnam

H.E. Mr. Tạ Ngọc Tấn, member of the Central Committee, President of HCMA.

H.E. Mme. Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hòa, Chair of Women’s Union

H.E. Mme. Nguyễn Phương Nga, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, National Director of Empowerment of Women Project.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Phi, Vice-Minister of Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs

Directors of the WiPPA

Distinguished Government Officials,

UN colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am extremely pleased to participate in the launch of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Administration and to congratulate the Ho Chi Minh Academy in having the foresight to establish such a Center.

The timing of WiPPA is right.  The decline over the last 10 years in women’s representation in the National Assembly and stagnation of representation in people’s councils, demands political will, action and resources by the government.

The establishment of the Centre is a strong indication of the Academy’s and the government’s commitment to women’s advancement and enhancing their leadership role in public administration and politics.

Women in Vietnam have always actively participated in public life and women and men have worked side by side in the agriculture fields, in offices and in parliament, however they do not enjoy the same level of benefit, recognition and status In Vietnam and most other countries, the role of women is conditioned by societal norms and practices reinforced over many generations. These established structures and norms have shaped both women and men and relationship between them. We need to have a better understanding of these patriarchal structures and norms to effectively deal with them to achieve goals of gender equality in all spheres of life, which Vietnam has adopted.
In recognition of the importance of investing in gender sensitive leadership, many countries such as Canada, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, and Sweden have established similar Centers which trains bureaucrats and political leaders understand complex issues that create gender gaps in leadership, to guide government’s approaches to addressing discriminatory practices, as well as build capacity of women to enter and succeed in political field.

The purpose of this Center we are launching today is to help prepare gender sensitive civil servants and political leaders, both women and men, to develop their appreciation for the importance of gender equality for inclusive socio – economic development and learn ways to promote gender equality through their work – whether it is policy formulation, implementation or policy review and oversight.    .
To do this effectively, I would like to underscore the importance of curriculum and learning approach to inculcate necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes. Gender equality is not just a subject ... it is a way of life. As products of our social conditioning, the change has to first start from within us.   The design of the curriculum, learning materials and learning methods can be very effective tools to promote both academic and experiential learning based on self reflection; evidence and case studies.
This Center is well placed in the HCM Academy which has  the capacity to harness the best resource people from academia, Party and the government at all levels. In addition, it can use all its networks to promote documentation of experiences and action research to better understand the ground reality which can then be used as learning materials in the women’s leadership programme.     

The innovative activities of WiPPA, such as establishing a mentoring program between retired MPs and potential candidates in the 2016 election, is a significant move forward from traditional training courses.  In numerous discussions I’ve had with retired MPs, I’ve been astounded by their continual commitment to their country and their passion to serve.  Gathering together a strong pool of people with such skills and experiences will be another key role of WiPPA.

The United Nations system in Vietnam is highly committed to supporting the the government of Vietnam and civil society in achieving gender equality goal and UNDP is very pleased to collaborate with MOFA and HCM Academy to launch this Centre for Women’s Advancement in Public Administration and Politics in Vietnam.
To all participants to day, I wish all of you good health, happiness and success.