UN and Vietnam Universities Work on Safety for Women

The United Nations (UN) Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has joined hands with Vietnamese universities to eliminate gender-based violence on university campuses.

Delegates at the event. Photo: UN Women

The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) on Feb. 25 kicked off the 'Safe Campus' initiative at three universities: Hanoi National University of Education, Thai Nguyen University of Education and Hong Duc University (Thanh Hoa province).

The project aims at eliminating gender-based violence, including sexual harassment within university campuses.

The program is expected to benefit more than 2,000 students and 300 teachers and staff at these universities.

The three main activities include: assessing the safety situation of students and female staff; conducting direct and online communication campaigns to raise awareness for students about gender equality and gender-based violence as well as how to respond to violence; establishing an emergency and regular support channel for female students and staff who experience violence.

The activities are carried out in accordance with UN Women's global guidelines on preventing and responding to violence on university campuses, contributing to Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

In her remarks at the kick-off seminar, Le Thi Hang, deputy director of the Department of Political Education and Student Affairs, said: "The evidence from this project will be a valuable foundation for education managers, policy makers, the Ministry of Education and Training and agencies to issue practical and effective regulations and policies to ensure a safe and non-violent educational environment for students.”

Nguyen Duc Son, vice principal of Hanoi National University of Education, said that Hanoi National University of Education in particular and colleges/universities of teacher education in general consisted a large proportion of female students.

Therefore, the risk that female students are victims of any forms of dating violence and sexual harassment is one of the issues that need attention.

Hanoi National University of Education is very honored to participate in this program and is ready to join hands with UN Women to build a safe university campus to create a truly friendly school environment, without any form of violence against students and female staff and lecturers in the school, Son said.

According to Le Thi Lan Phuong, UN Women program manager, gender-based violence is everywhere and can happen to every individual regardless of age or education level.

Gender-based violence at schools and university campuses, including sexual harassment, not only directly affects the health and psychology of the victims, but also affects the quality of education and the national economy.

"With many years of international experience, UN Women will accompany universities in Vietnam to build safe and equitable campuses,” Phuong said.

Representatives of universities affirmed the need for psychological support services and awareness-raising activities to support students, staff and lecturers at the universities and motivate them to speak out against gender-based violence.