Men cook up a storm in HeForShe Cooking Contest

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master chef_unwomanThe first-ever HeForShe Cooking Contest was organized in Viet Nam with participation of 11 male teams. Photo: UN Women/Jakub ZakHanoi, 28 June 2015 –"I am a man and I love cooking. Sharing responsibility and doing housework is absolutely normal in my family. Now in Viet Nam, more and more men do house work and take care of children to support their wives' career and education. We all benefit when we do so" said Mr. Vu Minh Ly, leader of Youth Federation Team, the third runner-up team of the HeForShe Cooking Contest in Viet Nam.

The HeForShe Cooking Contest was organized in Hanoi in commemoration of Viet Nam Family Day 28 Jun 2015 under the theme "Sharing Responsibilities". All eleven teams composed of male government leaders, ambassadors, celebrities, CEO, students and UN staff participated in the contest to make a statement about breaking gender stereotypes and the importance of men and boys in demonstrating gender equality at home.

Surrounded by an audience of more than a hundred people, their families and colleagues cheering along, each team spent thirty minutes preparing a salad, fried shrimp and dessert with the theme "For the women you love".

Shoko Ishikawa, UN Women Viet Nam Country Representative and member of the judging panel for the contest clarified "This is not just a cooking contest. The cooking teams are role models, advocates, and agents for change. They are making their stand on gender equality visible so that more men and boys will be inspired to join efforts to fight the rigid gender roles that hold each of us back"

It spreads the message of engaging men and boys in breaking stereotypes and taking actions for gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Jakub ZakIt spreads the message of engaging men and boys in breaking stereotypes and taking actions for gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Jakub Zak

"It was hard to select the winner of the contest as all teams did the ordinary task very well. What we looked for in the dishes is the sense of care and love of men for the women in their family. You may not be good at cooking at first, but when you truly love and respect someone, you can change" added Mr. Tuan Hai, Vietnamese MasterChef Judge and leader of the judging panel.

“I am a man and I love cooking. Men do housework is absolutely normal in my family”. Photo: UN Women/Jakub Zak“I am a man and I love cooking. Men do housework is absolutely normal in my family”. Photo: UN Women/Jakub Zak

The winner of the contest was the Australian Embassy team led by Mr. Layton Pike, their Deputy Head of Mission, presented dishes that displayed a creative combination of Vietnamese and Australian culinary delights. Two second runner-up teams were the Vietnamese Artists and the team from the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs.

Australian Embassy is the winner of Viet Nam’s HeForShe Cooking Contest. Photo: UN Women/Jakub ZakAustralian Embassy is the winner of Viet Nam’s HeForShe Cooking Contest.
Photo: UN Women/Jakub Zak

The Ambassador of Spain, Mr. Alfonso Tena Garcia, one of the contestants said "next time we have to ask the men to clean up also! That is the true test for gender equality at home."

HeForShe cooking contest organized by UN Women, Youth Union and Women's Union is among the range of activities held for HeForShe, a solidarity movement for gender equality. HeForShe was initially launched in Viet Nam in March 2015 with participation of more than 1000 government leaders, public figures, Ambassadors, development partners, and students. Since the launch, it has reached about 350,000 people on social media. Artists, celebrities, students and enterprises are taking their own HeForShe action to actively express their support for gender equality.