Australian Embassy

Media Release - 03/3/2014

Australia at the forefront to empower women and girls


Australia recognises that one of the best ways to promote economic development and growth and to achieve stronger communities and societies is to empower women and girls. As such, the Australian Government gives priority to gender equality and women’s empowerment in our foreign policy and in our overseas aid program, with over 50 per cent of the aid budget spent on initiatives to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

“Women and girls drive our economy, they build peace, political stability and progress. Investing in women and girls means prosperity for everyone,” said Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja in her 2014 International Women’s Day message.

Australia has a long history of assisting Vietnam to empower women and promote gender equality. The Australia Awards Program has increased women’s participation in higher education and their voice in decision making and leadership. In recent years, over 50 per cent of the annual 250 Australian scholarships in Vietnam went to women. In the Cao Lanh Bridge Project, Australia is working with the Vietnam Women’s Union in Dong Thap and Can Tho provinces to help local women address the socio-economic impacts of the project as well as providing advice on how best to use compensation received for land acquisition, and on vocational training options to support alternative employment.

“We would encourage the Government of Vietnam to place a greater priority to address issues such as women’s economic empowerment and leadership, gender violence and the marginalisation of vulnerable groups, including those with disabilities in the next Socio-Economic Development Plan and the subsequent Plan of Action for Gender Equality by 2020,” said Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr. Hugh Borrowman.

As part of Australia’s commitment to support Vietnamese women’s empowerment, during her official visit to Vietnam in February this year, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced a total of $4.2 million for two projects to be delivered in partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union.

Australia is now Vietnam’s fourth largest bilateral development cooperation partners, providing around AUD $136.3 million in ODA for the 2013 - 2014 financial year.

An op-ed piece from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP is attached to this release.

To view Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls International Women’s Day 2014 message, please go to:

Online version of the new publication “Improving Economic Outcome for Women” by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is available here:

For further information, please contact Ms Vu Binh Chau, Media Officer, Australian Embassy in Hanoi (phone: 04 3774 0216, email: [email protected]).