Swedish Ambassador empowers Vietnamese girls to take the lead through annual series “Girls Takeover”

Swedish Ambassador Ann Måwe (C), Duong Phuong Anh (L), and Bui Y Nhi. Photos: Plan International

For the 3rd consecutive year, the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi teamed up with Plan International in Vietnam to organize Girls Takeover in connection with the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October. The activity was initiated in 2012 to honor efforts of girls’ empowerment globally and in 2019, the Embassy of Swedish became the first Embassy in Hanoi to participate in the Girl Takeover series.

Outlining the importance of the event and why the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi has decided to join, Ambassador Ann Måwe says, “No country has achieved gender equality. Women and girls are still subjected to systemic discrimination and subordination, all over the world. But despite this, girls are standing up against outdated traditions, norms, and laws. Girls’ agency and leadership contribute to breaking the negative cycle. That is why we want to support them and contribute to increasing their visibility.”

This year the focus was on strengthening digital literacy for girls to ensure a safe and inclusive digital space and Ambassador Ann Måwe had a chance to speak to 20-year-old Bui Y Nhi from Hanoi, who has been selected for the 2021 Girl Takeover series, and Phuong Anh who has been a Takeover girl in the last two years. 

According to the Embassy, Bui Y Nhi and Phuong Anh had a long discussion with Ambassador Måwe about the particular challenges and achievements of girls and young women in Vietnam, during a year of fighting against COVID-19.

Y Nhi and Phuong Anh recalled the Takeover event last year when the petition was signed, called on media companies to take responsibility for an end of sexual harassment in their channels. Over the past year, following up the petition, Plan Global and youth have excelled in youth-led campaigns including listening sessions with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Maru chatbots for girls, and Future Online research to fight for a better digital world for girls and children. The efforts continue to spread further, as Vietcetera, an emerging media company, has joined this year’s Girls Takeover series.

Ambassador Måwe reiterated that Sweden remains a champion to promote gender equality, empowerment of women and girls, and their full enjoyment of human rights. The advanced Swedish agenda on gender equality is the result of longstanding and persistent advocacy by civil society, without which little change will be made in our society. That’s why Swedish embassies team up with Plan International around the world to listen to and engage with girls and young women on this particular day.

Ambassador Måwe and the two girls also discussed several initiatives and suggestions on how national governments, as the primary duty-bearers for ensuring girls’ enjoyment of human rights, can increase children’s and young people’s digital literacy. 

Through the activity, the Ambassador gained more insights about gender equality in digital space in Vietnam, especially through the lens of the young generation and under the impacts of COVID-19. 

After their meaningful discussion, Ambassador Måwe and the two Takeover girls signed the Plan International’s petition in solidarity with girls who are speaking up about the spread of false information online. The Embassy of Sweden is committed to work with youth activists and Plan to promote digital literacy for girls and children in Vietnam.

“More support is needed so that girls and young women in Vietnam and around the world are equipped for an increasingly digitalized world and be confident to step into leading roles,” acclaimed Sharon Kane, Plan International Vietnam’s Country Director. She also thanked Ambassador Måwe and the Embassy of Sweden for the meaningful experience that Phuong Anh and Y Nhi had.

Link to the petition can be found here


About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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