Aus4EqualityUpdatesFrom Village to Markets: Empowering Ethnic Minority Women

From Village to Markets: Empowering Ethnic Minority Women

The “From Village to Markets: Empowering Ethnic Minority Women” event held in Hanoi on December 6th highlighted both the challenges and opportunities to improve the economic empowerment of women in North West Vietnam.

The event is organized by the Australian supported program called Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) which aims to empower local women especially ethnic minority to profitably engage in agriculture and tourism markets in Lao Cai and Son La.

Representatives from private sector, NGOs, government, and ethnic minority women from Lao Cai and Son La attended to share their inside stories on the barriers for ethnic minority women to participate in agriculture and tourism markets and how private sector engage them in the company’s supply chains and high value markets. The event also highlighted that addressing women’s economic empowerment is more than just addressing income, it is also about supporting women to have an enhanced role in decision making within the household, community and the economy.

At the event, 15 GREAT partners showcased their products and services through a marketplace featuring tea, vegetables, spices, medicinal plants, fruits, flowers and community-based tourism. There was also an opportunity to taste the local flavours of Son La and Lao Cai with a delicious three-course menu sourced from ingredients from GREAT partners.

In touring the marketplace, the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Ms Robyn Mudie emphasised that women’s economic empowerment and gender equality is one of the priority areas of Australia’s aid program in Vietnam. “The partners showcasing their products today are just a snapshot of the work that GREAT is doing.  It was fantastic to talk to enterprises that are headed by ethnic minority women as well as large enterprises that are connecting ethnic minority women famers to global supply chains”, said Ambassador Mudie.

It is expected that the GREAT Program will boost the income of 40,000 women and create approximately 4,000 jobs for women to drive inclusive economic growth in the two provinces. Over the past 12 months, GREAT has already had some early success including over 11,0000 women now have new knowledge and skills in agriculture, processing, tourism and business; innovative services have been introduced including new varieties of seedlings and local cooperatives have been connected to major retailers such as Big C.

About the AUS4Equality|GREAT Program

 The Gender-Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program is a flagship of DFAT’s Aus4Equality portfolio. The Program is scheduled to run until 31 December 2021 with an investment of AUD 33.7 million over four years. The Provincial People’s Committees (PPCs) of Son La and Lao Cai provinces are the Program’s key counterparts.

The Program is working with business, NGO and government partners to build more inclusive business and market systems within the agriculture and tourism sectors in Son La and Lao Cai provinces.  By ensuring that businesses, and the wider market systems within which they operate, engage with and benefit women and ethnic minorities, more people can participate in and benefit from related economic activities and growth.

It also advocates for and educates on gender equality, working directly with business, government and NGOs to influence policies, attitudes and practice.