on June 26th, 2020, the Prime Minster Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired an ASEAN Leader’s Special Session as part of the 36th ASEAN Summit on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age.
The video conference was held as an initiative of Vietnam to affirm ASEAN leaders’ commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and to enhance the role of women in building the ASEAN Community.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the role played by women and their contributions to humankind’s efforts to respond to challenges and promote development in each ASEAN country.
"There remains inequality and discrimination against women, however, which inhibits their development and contributions to the community," he said.
The Prime Minister underlined the need for ASEAN to take action to utilise women’s potential and create conditions for them to use their strengths and contribute to development in regional countries and the ASEAN Community, especially in the digital age.
According to the UN, women account for only 2 per cent of the total number of negotiators and mediators in the world but are indispensable in co-operative processes that help create sustainable peace and security.
"The ASEAN Community has affirmed its goal of developing into a community in which everyone is treated equally and the rights of women are promoted and protected," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed.
"ASEAN members have effectively implemented plans and programmes as well as mechanisms on women, towards building a people-centred ASEAN Community," he said.
Addressing the gathering, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, also Chair of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41), said she highly valued the initiatives and commitment of ASEAN in promoting the role and rights of women and women’s empowerment.
She proposed measures to make progress even more effective.
She expressed her belief that ASEAN would continue to take advantage of the region with the world's fast internet growth to enhance the position of women, especially those in leadership positions.
ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi underlined the significance and timing of the session as it took place amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The special session not only reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitments to realising equality for all but also shone light on the indispensable role of women as drivers of urgent change in the digital age, he said.
Participants discussed measures to promote and uphold the role and contributions of women as well as women’s empowerment in the digital age, and how to facilitate their participation in building an ASEAN Community based on the three pillars of politics-security, economy, and socio-culture.
Ways were also sought to promote ASEAN women’s contributions to efforts to maintain peace, security, stability, sustainable development, and multilateral co-operation in countries and the region.