Samantha Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), believes women are capable of doing incredible things when they believe in themselves.
“Many times in my career, I have had doubts about whether or not I could succeed. The important thing is to just try to push those doubts away.
“When women show what they have inside of them, incredible things happen,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power said during a meeting held on Wednesday with VECA – a women-led startup which created the first waste collection app to connect household sellers with waste collectors.
A global leader herself, Power admitted that she often feels vulnerable, but has learned that “it is important to learn how to get up after you fall.”
|USAID Administrator Samantha Power (right) swaps shirts with Vietnam’s women’s national football team member Tran Thi Thuy Trang in Ho Chi Minh City, March 7, 2023. Photo: Tran Tien Dung / Tuoi Tre|
“I think that when (people look at me) – a person who has had decades of a career [sic], it is easy to say, ‘it was always inevitable that Samantha would lead USAID’ or ‘she had the chance under Barack Obama to be the United Nations ambassador, and to be a part of his cabinet.’
“But many, many times in my career, I have had doubts about whether I would succeed. So my message for young women is that everybody has doubts,” Power said.
Though many women doubt themselves or believe they cannot compete, it is important for them to put their worries aside and understand that everyone doubts themselves, regardless of gender.
“When women put their doubts aside and show their strength, incredible things happen. What the Vietnamese women’s football team has done is just one example.
“In the qualifying rounds [for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023], 20 Vietnamese female soccer players had COVID-19. Yet despite seeing teammates get sick and not be able to play, the women fought in a historic way to win a ticket to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
“That is to say, on the soccer field, you have your teammates. In life, you have your sisters and girlfriends, you have people you can confide in.
“Learning how to lean on people is also critical for women who are trying to succeed in the world”, Power noted.
|USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks with the press after a scrimmage with Fulbright University Vietnam students. Photo: Tran Tien Dung / Tuoi Tre|
During Power’s meeting with VECA, she learned that nearly a third of solid waste and recycling collection in Vietnam is done by informal workers, 60 percent of whom are women.
VECA makes this work more efficient and contributes to global efforts to reduce ocean plastic pollution.
She also used the meeting to highlight USAID’s commitment to empowering women to earn sustainable incomes and advance locally-led solutions, noting that women have great initiatives to help solve the climate challenges Vietnam is facing, as the country shifts to a green economy.
“Women believing in themselves is important,” Power stressed, adding that society must put more effort into empowering women so that they can recognize themselves as impactful idea generators.
Power traveled to the Mekong Delta on International Women’s Day (March 8) to speak with business leaders, farmers, fishermen, students, and local leaders about the impacts of climate change.
Afterwards, she visited Hanoi for the last part of her trip in Vietnam.