By Dang Thanh Ha, Vietnam
In our life, great things often spring from minor things, and miraculous changes created by the humanity are counted on contributions and step-by-step efforts made by individuals.
I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to participate in the Australia Awards Short Course on Project Implementation to Optimise Gender Outcomes (Aus4Transport) funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), managed by Aus4Skills and delivered by Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The course has made significant impacts on my personal, family and work life.
The most meaningful impact is that it has changed my perceptions and views on gender equality and gender-related issues, particularly the role of women in the society where women are more often than not stereotyped to be junior to men.
Gender stereotypes have existed and deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture passed on from generation to generation. But it is not my story. At home, I have successfully changed the gender notion. I always discuss with my husband and children in open and respectful spirit and attitude about how to share house chores among us. At work, as a legal official, I make sure that gender equality is mainstreamed in all policy and legal documents adopted at the ministerial level in the transport sector. In addition, I was involved in a couple of activities where I was able to talk about gender issues and share the knowledge that I learned from the course. Last year, for instance, I had a presentation at a conference organised by the University of Transport in Hochiminh City. One recommendation I made at the event was that women should be empowered to act as maritime ship captains, just as men are.
I also suggested an annual survey to assess gender awareness and gender equality among employees in our General Department; organize meetings and thematic workshops on the International Women’s Day and Vietnam Women’s Day.
Removing gender-based barriers and prejudices, and fighting for gender equality is a long-term process that requires the everyone’s determination. Changes have come with me, and I am committed to making changes for gender equality around me everyday.