HCM City contributes to promote gender equality and to exercise women’s rights

As many as 50 delegates from Ho Chi Minh City's District 10 have took part in a workshop aiming to raise awareness about how access to safe and friendly toilets affects the development of women and girls.

The workshop is part of activities on gender responsive budgeting and gender equality as well as ending violence against women in both public and private spheres especially during COVID-19 crisis. Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang

Gender responsive budget (GRB) is the process of planning and budgeting of the Government in an attempt to promote gender equality and to exercise women’s rights.

Gender relations, social norms and values often set unequal parameters for men and women’s (differentiated) access to the use of, and control over, infrastructure services and facilities. Women are frequently found to benefit less than men from infrastructure, and are sometimes negatively impacted by the “gender-blind” infrastructure projects. Infrastructure development is not gender-neutral, and infrastructure interventions do not automatically result in inclusive growth. 

A scoping study by Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) conducted in 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City on the safety of women and children, found that parks, toilets, restaurants/bars/pubs are three public places that are identified as unsafe, with high risk of sexual harassment and sexual violence against women and girls. 

Furthermore, in Ho Chi Minh city, 1 in 5 women reported having experienced sexual violence or harassment in the past year? The Baseline survey of the programme Safe Cities for women and girls in Ho Chi Minh city 2017–2021 also points out that 54% of female participants don't feel safe in public spaces at night.

On October 7-8, DOLISA, District 10 People's Committee coordinated with United Nations Women to organize a workshop to share and introduce the tool "Gender-responsive budgeting in infrastructure improvement" for representatives administrators of schools, departments of District 10; Department for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality Departments in the city and district.

The workshop welcomed about 50 delegates from District 10 to raise awareness about how access to safe and friendly toilets affects the development of women and girls.

Tran Thi Kim Thanh, head of the Department’s Office of Child Protection, Care and Gender Equality, said standards regarding the safety of women and girls had not been taken into account during the construction of the toilets.

Therefore, she stressed, gender integration in planning and budget use is essential, especially ensuring the safety and friendliness of facilities for women and girls.

Participants agreed to prioritise upgrading toilets at schools and traditional markets in District 10.

This is an activity within the framework of a five-year cooperation between UN Women and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on a safe city for women and girls in the period 2017-2021.

In 2016, UN Women in Vietnam in partnership with SunRise, AIESEC and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, with support of UNICEF and Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee organised a Safe and Friendly City Bus Journey. Photo: UN Women/Hoang Van Nam

In 2018, Ho Chi Minh city's DOLISA established 4 Male Advocates Clubs in District 1 and District 10 as core community task forces to prevent violence against women and girls and promote gender equality under the Programme following UN Women’s male advocate club model effectively implemented in Da Nang City. In 2019, another 2 Male Advocates Clubs at city level: 1 Army club and 1 youth club of DOLISA Ho Chi Minh city were established. In total, there are 6 Male Advocates Clubs have been maintained in the city.

In 2018, under the Programme on Safe Cities for women and girls, UN Women, Department of Labor-invalids and Social Affairs and Ho Chi Minh city People’s Council has developed a Guidelines on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in verification and monitoring of budget implementation of the People’s Council. The guidelines aimed to provide a basic knowledge of gender, gender equality and GRB and thus, offer skills with which to apply gender equality principles in budget monitoring and decisions of the People’s Council to conform to State Budget Law (2015).

At the same time, it offers guidelines to delegates of the People’s Council, its Standing Board and People’s Council Boards as well as officials from the city/provincial Departments, Committees and sectors on methods to apply with which to integrate gender into the budget process based on the mandate and functions of each agency. It is designed to target those who are delegates of People’s Councils and officials from the offices of People’s Council and People’s Committee; leaders of city/provincial Departments, Committees, sectors; including officers working on planning, finance and budget at city/provincial, district, ward/commune levels, in function of the advancement of women and gender equality.

In 2018 and 2019, UN Women supported Ho Chi Minh city to conduct interventions in transportation sector to ensure the safety for women and girls in public buses, including raising awareness and conduct study on sexual harassment and sexual violence at public space.

A series of activities on ending violence against women preventions have been implemented, including the establishment and operations of the male clubs on gender equality. UN Women has supported the city to strengthen capacity on gender responsive budgeting to ensure the city’s accountability for gender equality and the advancement of women toward the city goal on safety for women and girls.

Phuong Minh