Hong Hoang became the first Vietnamese to visit Antarctica in 1997. | Source: CHANGE Facebook

Originally published by Agnes Alpuerto on Vietcetera on March 8, 2021.

As the world celebrates Women’s Day today, we’ve listed five of the most powerful and influential Vietnamese women across different sectors.

Some women inspire, some influence, and some fight. During the Vietnam War, women served as soldiers fighting for independence. While there’s little official data of female war veterans, the country estimates that approximately 11,000 military women were stationed across the country.

Over the decades, women’s roles in the country have changed. They have taken on roles in modern society, cementing their names in different fields and leading initiatives that brought Vietnam into the world. From climbing the corporate ladder through unparalleled hard work and competence to building their own empires, the Vietnamese women of today are epitome of influence, empowerment and inspiration.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we have listed five of the most powerful and influential women creating monumental changes in modern Vietnam.


Hong Hoang

In the summer of 1997, Hong Hoang became the first Vietnamese to visit Antarctica, a six-trip designed to expose the complexities of climate and waste issues on the planet. She was just 24, but she knew she had been transformed. She spent her post-Antarctica years getting relevant experiences on environmental preservation and wildlife conservation. When she was ready, she launched CHANGE, an environmental not for profit organization, that works directly with Vietnamese youth.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it,” she said in an interview with Climate Heroes, a platform that documents women and men who fight tirelessly to protect the environment.

An acronym for the Centre of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment, CHANGE educates individuals and mobilizes the community into taking action on reducing their impact on the country’s most serious environmental issues.

Despite the uphill battle she faced to keep her organization moving and prove its effectiveness to a skeptical audience, Hoang devoted herself to positively influencing young Vietnamese from all walks of life, letting them understand how climate change endangers their future.

In 2018, she took part in the inaugural round of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, where she collaborated with fellow resign leaders and worked on building skills and experiences that she would later on implement in her own organization.

“We [Vietnam] are one of the most influenced by climate change, the fourth biggest plastic polluter, and the top wildlife consumers. We are always on the top of the worst lists – we want to just step down a little bit! Don’t be the champion in these categories! But it’s a long way to go, believe me,” the passionate environmentalist told Southeast Asia Globe.

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