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ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit held under Viet Nam’s initiative


 The ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit, initiated by Viet Nam, was virtually held on November 12  under the chair of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The event was part of the ongoing 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.


Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan chair the event
Among attendants were National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the NA Tong Thi Phong, Chairwoman of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) Nguyen Phuong Nga, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra, President of the Viet Nam Women’s Union Ha Thi Nga, and Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, Vice Chairwoman of Viet Nam’s National Committee on Pacific Economic Cooperation and Senior Advisor to the ASEAN 2020 National Secretariat.
Leaders of ASEAN countries, female leaders of ASEAN countries, Dutch Queen Maximax, the World Bank Vice President and the ASEAN Secretary-General also participated in the conference from many different locations around the world.
The event, which is one of the main activities of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, was themed “Role of women in building a cohesive, dynamic, sustainable and inclusive ASEAN Community in the post-COVID-19 world”.
It was also among the important activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of Beijing Declaration on gender equality, the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council’s first Resolution on women, peace and security, and the fifth anniversary of the ASEAN Community and the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals till 2030, thus promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the crucial role of women in national development, as well as in approaching and addressing multidimensional and diverse security challenges currently posed to the regional and international communities.
He pointed out that women in the world and the region are still facing many challenges, including inequality and disadvantages in many aspects of daily life.
Given that fact, the PM wished that the summit would offer solutions and methods to protect women’s rights and support them to promote their role and make contributions to the building of the ASEAN Community and post-COVID-19 overall recovery. 
Sharing the view of the Vietnamese leader, participants acknowledged ASEAN’s relentless efforts to promote gender equality, women’s rights and the roles of women and girls.
The leaders of ASEAN countries hailed women as “silent heroes” with significant contributions to every aspect of life, including politics, health, humanitarian activities, peace and reconciliation, as well as in each family. 
International delegates put forward a number of measures to protect women’s rights and empower women, such as improving women’s access to digital payment services and enabling them to participate in the development of the digital economy. They also proposed the establishment of the ASEAN Working Group on inclusive finance as well as measures to protect women’s health and help them join socio-economic activities following the pandemic.
On behalf of Viet Nam, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan stressed the need to ensure legitimate economic and health benefits of women in parallel with measures on gender equality. 
ASEAN needs to put women into focus of reconstruction and recovery, enhance women’s leadership and voices in decision-making process, strengthen their economic power, and consider gender equality and women empowerment one of the important priorities in the process of building the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, she said.