Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, Vietnam

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, Vietnam

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for that kind introduction. President Tuan, I’m grateful to you for having me at the Foreign Trade University.

I would also like to thank Governor Hong for welcoming me on my first trip to Vietnam as Treasury Secretary.

I’m delighted to be here with so many female leaders – including the State Bank of Vietnam’s first female Governor.

I know our discussion today will be about broader topics – like macroeconomic issues and the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam – but I’d like to use my opening remarks to address the importance of empowering women in the economy.

Over the course of my career, I have served in multiple positions in the United States government.

This includes Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and Treasury Secretary.

Throughout this time, I have noticed that there are never enough women at the decision-making table.

Events like this, where I see so many women leaders coming together, give me cause for optimism. Women business leaders and economists play an invaluable role in Vietnam’s booming economy.

Earlier this year, the Asian Development Bank reported that women own only 17% of all companies in Vietnam and lead just 27% of them. Of course, Vietnam isn’t alone: gender disparities exist in the United States and all over the world.

I would like to stress that having women at the center of decision-making is not just a moral imperative. It’s also an economic one. Economies are stronger when they are built on robust and dynamic labor markets that allow women enter and thrive in good jobs.

In the United States, the increase in the participation of women in the workforce was a major driver of growth in the 20th century.

Your country is experiencing an impressive economic transformation, which is creating new and exciting economic opportunities that can open new avenues for leadership by those from underrepresented groups in business and economics.

Of course, advancing economic opportunity is just one part of a broader effort to promote a more equal and prosperous society, and there is more work that we must all do to advance social and public health goals as well. For example, access to affordable and quality childcare is key to facilitating women’s greater participation in the labor market.

I know that the Vietnamese government has identified women’s economic empowerment as a key priority, and we stand ready to help support that effort – and to also bolster our overall economic partnership with Vietnam across a variety of sectors and initiatives.

Thank you for having me here with you today. It’s great to be here and I look forward to our discussion.


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