Passionate Policymaker: Dr Tran Speaks at Women’s Think Tank Forum
Hanoi, 25 March 2021: ERIA’s Governing Board Member representing Vietnam, Dr Tran Thi Hong Minh, spoke at the first Women, Think Tanks and Policy Advice Forum ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling in the Ivory Tower: The Role of Women in Think Tanks and Policy Advice’. The Forum, hosted by the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania, was attended by representatives of think tanks and government from across the world.
Dr Tran shared her observations and experience during the Thought Leader Panel with Amb Mouchira Khattab (Egypt) and Jane Harman, former US Congressperson and President and CEO Emeritus Wilson Center.
‘Effective policy advice requires more than just connection with the policymakers and luck. The think tanks can’t just think. They have to adapt and learn continuously as well. As women and as leaders of think tanks, we have to try harder than we would otherwise. In my case, I never stop learning, from my peers, from the works assigned by my Minister, and from the works that we pioneer. And I can do so with passion. I believe everything you do, you should do with passion. For good policy advices, such passion is even more important. The policymakers may know your institute for decades; the policymakers may know you for years already; and your passion may motivate them to add special consideration to your policy recommendations.’
For the opening session, Linda Musumba, Board Chairperson, KIPPRA (Kenya); Beatriz Nofa, Executive Committee, CARI (Argentina); Margot Wallström, former Swedish FM, former UN Special Envoy on Gender & Sexual Based Violence and former European Commissioner provided opening Keynote Remarks outlining their personal experiences as women in negotiating their positions in government and think tanks. They highlighted key challenges that must frequently be overcome by women to advance their careers as well as opportunities that should not be missed.
Session II ‘Articulating the Challenges Facing Women in Think Tanks’ featured women from think tanks from across the globe. The panelists addressed the following questions: Why did you choose to work at a think tank? What obstacles did you encounter in the hiring process and advancing your career at a think tank?
Session III ‘Action-Oriented Solutions to Promote Women in Think Tanks’ looked at the issue that think tanks are primarily managed and staffed by men and women are often found in support functions rather than in research or managerial roles. The role of women is important to diversity, innovation, and shaping the research and direction of policy at macro levels. The speakers defined specific actions to be taken to promote the leadership and involvement of women in think tanks.
Session IV was a Moderated Question & Answer Session with panel of female think tank executives who commented on and respond to the issues and solutions raised in Sessions II and III, followed by a moderated question and answer session.