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Opening remarks by UN Women Executive Director at a meeting with Senior Women Leaders of the Government and National Assembly of Viet Nam

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Opening remarks by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at a meeting with Senior Women Leaders of the Government and National Assembly of Viet Nam, Hanoi, 30 March 2014

Date: 30 March 2014

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Excellencies,

Honourable Ministers,

Distinguished Representatives,

I hail all of you as senior women leaders!

I would like to thank you for this opportunity to meet all of you on this Sunday evening. 

I congratulate Viet Nam for having such a tight-knit group of accomplished senior women leaders in the Party, the National Assembly, and in the Government Administration.  

Promoting women’s leadership and participation is one of UN Women’s priority areas of work. 

Globally, there is evidence that gender equality leads to better economic growth. 

Women’s leadership helps companies perform better. 

Parliaments with more women enact better legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.

I commend Viet Nam for making strong efforts to increase the number of women in leadership positions by setting an ambitious target of 35 per cent women in the National Assembly and People’s Councils by 2020.

I acknowledge that the effort is making a difference. I have been informed that the membership of women in the Community Party has reached 33 per cent. 

At the sub-national level, the representation of female deputies at the Provincial, District and Commune level has increased over the previous terms. 

I must say that 24 per cent of women deputies in the National Assembly is also an impressive number. 

However, I was very concerned to learn that this number has been declining over the past three terms and women’s representation at decision-making level is still low. I would be very interested in hearing from you why this is the case. 

I have also learned that the retirement age for men and women is not the same (55 for women and 60 for men), and the current proposal is to increase this to 60 for women and 62 for men. Still unequal, what would it take for this to become equal?

I am keen to learn about your experiences as women leaders and your vision about women’s political participation in Viet Nam, as well as the measures needed to support an increase of women's representation in politics and at the decision making level. 

Thank you.