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US President Barack Obama speaks at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative town hall event in Ho Chi Minh City on May 25, 2016.

"Ensure fairness"

Obama delivers message on women’s rights in Vietnam

May 25, 2016

During his historic three-day visit to Vietnam, President Obama delivered a subtle but clear message on the need for gender equality in the region, discussing the need to deliver full education and employment opportunities to women and girls.  “We think gender equality is an important principle,” Obama told a crowd of 2,300 at the Hanoi Convention Center. “Strong, confident women have always moved Vietnam forward. The evidence is clear — I say this wherever I go around the world — families, communities and countries are more prosperous when girls and women have an equal opportunity to succeed.” The Washington Post notes that Obama did not hold specific events to highlight women’s issues throughout his stay, but made it a subtle focus throughout his remarks: when holding a discussion with civil society leaders, the two seated next to the president were both women, and during a panel on entrepreneurship, two out of three people on stage were women.

Asked about the issue of human trafficking by female activists, the president said a way to prevent it would be to focus on women and girls, “Because a lot of human trafficking results because of the fact that girls are not given the same educational opportunities as boys, and as a consequence find themselves in very desperate situations.” At a town-hall event focused on young people in Ho Chi Minh City, Obama took questions from an equal number of boys and girls, to “ensure fairness.” When a young woman with a question on the role of government in promoting the arts introduced herself as a rapper, the president  asked her to “give me a little rap.” The woman — later identified as 26-year-old Hàng Lâm Trang An, known as Suboi and dubbed Vietnam’s “queen of hip hop” — gladly obliged, and delivered a few lines in Vietnamese.

Read the full story at
The Washington Post.


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