Every year on March 8th, women across the world are honoured! It's also a great time to shed light on the most influential women.
7 March 2016| Last updated on 16 August 2017
When you search influential women in Vietnam, you mainly find endless and endless amounts of websites and information about the role of Vietnam War veterans and memorials.
Which is a shame, really, as while it is of course an important historical snapshot of Vietnam's past, it negates the efforts of other influential Vietnamese women.
In fact, there are a few very important and influential women in the country's history that paved the path for modern day Vietnam.
1. The Trung sisters
Two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, were brave female heroes who launched and led people to revolt against the colonial government of the Eastern Han Dynasty, which ultimately established the independence of autonomy within three years after more than 200 years immersed under the yoke of the feudal dynasties of the North.
2. Nguyen Thi Dinh
This lady was the first female general of the Vietnam People's Army! Born in March 1920 in Luong Hoa Commune, she was the youngest of 10 brothers(!), and so living in a large family made it a little difficult to attend school like everyone else around her.
Nonetheless, despite not learning much academically, Nguyen Thi Dinh was a very intelligent, sensitive and savvy woman who enjoyed reading. At the age of 16 years old, she participated in the revolution and two years later, was in the ranks of the Communist Party.
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Thanks to her strong will, young age and fierce patriotism, she was then elected as captain for the first voyage to the North to report to the Party and Uncle Ho about the battlefield situation of the south and request their support. Thus in 1974, she was appointed the rank of Major General.
3. Kim Phuc
We've all seen the photo - naked, crying, burned and running alongside other children away from the smoke - it's emblematic of human suffering during the Vietnam War. At the age of 9, it was Kim Phuc pictured, and who subsequently spent the following 14 months in hospital and the rest of her life blistered from the napalm that hit her body and burned off her clothes.
Over 40 years later, Phuc is now married with two teenagers and living in Toronto, Canada, and travels the world to discuss the anger she left behind.
Following her experiences, she created a foundation devoted to helping child victims of war, called The Kim Foundation International. It is a non-profit organisation that helps to heal the wounds of innocent children and aims to restore hope and happiness into their lives by providing much-needed medical and psychological assitance.
4. Queen Mother Y Lan
In Vietnamese history, Y Lan was the wife of King Ly Thanh Tong. She was a beautiful country girl, who calmply picked strawberries when Ly Thanh Tong went by. Astonished by her intelligence and beauty, he decided to marry here and thus she had any positive contributions to the Ly dynasty to follow.
In 1072, following the death of her husband, their child Prince Ly Can Duc became king at the age of 7, and thus Y Lan became known as the Queen Mother.
Y Lan was also very knowledgeable about Vietnamese Buddhism, and was responsible for hundreds of temples being built country-wide. Thanks to the stories between herself and the Ly dynasty monks, we now are able to study the spread of Buddhism in Vietnam.
5. Queen Le Ngoc Han
In Vietnamese history, Princess Le Ngoc Han is a very well-known female character and is mentioned frequently. She was the 9th daughter of King Le Hien Tong.
It is believed she was good at poetry, which aided the love of Nguyen Hue to develop for her. He loved her because of her talent.
Additionally, Ngoc Han took charge of holding important documents, giving titles to female scholars, and teaching the children and female maids. She was also a trusted partner in the fields of culture and education, and simultaneously appeased her husband in many other important works, and advised him to end the conflict with Nguyen Nhac.