RMIT Vietnam NewsRMIT makes lasting impact on women in Vietnam

RMIT makes lasting impact on women in Vietnam

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 15:36

After the success of the inaugural Women’s Empowerment Club, RMIT Vietnam has launched a second series of workshops aimed to connect local women to inspire positive change within their communities.

The first series of Women’s Empowerment Club (WEC) workshops guided 80 women over a six month period through topics designed to encourage empowerment, including public speaking, conflict management, creative thinking, coaching skills for leaders, and dealing with domestic violence.

Since the series’ completion in May this year, participants have continued to build supportive networks with other women, shifted their work practices to be more inclusive of others, started new businesses and helped empower other women within their communities.

Executive Assistant and Youth Leader Le Tran Ngoc Minh (pictured centre row, sixth from left) with graduating WEC group members and facilitators

Executive Assistant and Youth Leader Le Tran Ngoc Minh joined the WEC program with “an open mind and open eyes” because she wanted to learn as much as she could from participants and facilitators.

“At first I thought the program was about learning new topics, but since the program I have felt inspired. The facilitators were so passionate,” Ms Minh said.

“I’ve [since] applied the skills I learnt and shared my knowledge...and in July, I hosted a charity event that was supported by my [WEC] friends. It’s been a privilege for me to meet these wonderful women. It almost feels like I’ve been freed.”

Funded by a Public Diplomacy grant from the US Government in Ho Chi Minh City and hosted by The American Center, RMIT Vietnam launched a new series of WEC workshops last week. This time, the workshops aim to make an even greater impact by connecting professional women directly with community groups.

Consul General of the United States of America Mary Tarnowka is confident the WEC will prepare the participating women to adapt to the evolving world market to create opportunities for themselves and their communities.

“The United States supported the Women’s Empowerment Club to promote leadership, communication, entrepreneurial and soft skills for the next generation of female leaders in Vietnam. We believe that society is at its best when all people are given the chance to succeed,” Ms Tarnowka said.

Project Leader Tran Giang Truc Linh joined the Club feeling insecure, and hoped to find “new solutions and new energy for [her] work”. She found the presenters energising, and learnt practical techniques to use in her work environment.

“The teachers’ enthusiasm helped me open my mind and my heart. After each class, I felt more confident with the new things I’d learnt, and I felt happy with new friendships,” Ms Linh said.

“Since participating in the WEC, I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone by changing my job [so] I can explore a new chapter in my career path. My friend who also joined the class now feels more confident to communicate in English with international companies.”

Project leader Tran Giang Truc Linh with WEC members and RMIT facilitator Felicity Brown

RMIT Vietnam President Professor Gael McDonald said that while the WEC was designed to empower women through connection, discussion and teaching life and work skills, the extraordinary impact it had on the greater community was inspiring.

“After witnessing such empowering transformations within the last WEC, we’re excited to see the journey the new group of women will take, given that there will be more practical opportunities to make a difference in the HCMC community,” Professor McDonald said.

“When current data continues to show the gender gap is widening, we want to do everything we can to contribute to female empowerment, learning and growth. Each one of us can make a difference by helping to push the boundary a little further.”

New WEC members at the relaunch, about to embark on a journey of empowerment and personal exploration

Story: Lisa Humphries