Vietnamese women as sunshine for country's prosperity: VWU official
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Minh Huong, Vice President of the Vietnam Women's Union. (Source: VWU)
How do you assess the outcomes and accomplishments that Vietnam has made in recent years to promote gender equality and the role of women?
Vietnam is one of the countries that has successfully implemented international commitments on gender equality and women's empowerment, and early completed the Millennium Development Goals on gender equality and women's empowerment. Over the past years, the Party and State have adopted many guidelines and policies to promote gender equality and create conditions for women to maximize their potentials, strengths and spirit of entrepreneurship as well as development aspiration of all classes of women in all areas of social life.
In the field of politics, Vietnam ranks 62nd among 193 countries in terms of the ratio of women in the parliament (reaching 30.26% of female deputies). The proportion of ministries and ministerial-level agencies with female key leaders reached over 50%. Vietnam ranks 3rd in the ASEAN region and 47/187 countries in the world in terms of gender equality in politics.
In the field of economic, the proportion of women-owned enterprises reached 29.8%, helping Vietnam ranks 6th among the countries with the highest proportion of women entrepreneurs. Facing the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had issued policies to support people, businesses and workers, as well as provided additional support for workers who are pregnant or raising children under 6 years old; supported children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic, ect; thereby contributing to stabilizing people's lives and ensuring social security.
In the fields of society and culture, thousands of female intellectuals have many successes in scientific research bringing the high economic and humanity value; Vietnamese female athletes have won many medals and awards in domestic and international arenas. As of 2022, female soldiers who account for 16.7 percent of total officers participating in Vietnam's peacekeeping forces, are devoting to the noble mission of the United Nations.
Currently, Vietnam is also working to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the goals of promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 published by the World Economic Forum in July 2022, Vietnam's gender equality ranking index in 2022 is 83/146 countries, up 4 notches compared to 2021, in which indicators in the economic and education sectors have made significant progress.
Which initiatives and contributions did the Vietnam Women's Union make in order to attain those achievements?
Over the past time, with the function of caring and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women, the VWU has had many activities to promote gender equality and support women's comprehensive development.
Firstly, the Union has actively participated in the development of the society, supervised the implementation of policies and laws related to gender equality, proposed to bring issues related to women and children, integrated gender equality issues into the law-making process; many policies have been considered and noted. Women's Unions at all levels have also persistently proposed policies, programs and schemes to institutionalize legal provisions on gender equality.
From 2017 up to now, the VWU has successfully proposed four government projects, some contents in three national target programs. The Union performs its role in speaking up and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women and children through the establishment and operation of networks, legal and psychological advisory groups, or advisory groups to solve problems related to women, children...
Secondly, the VWU has been implementing many activities and programs to improve the capacity of women; care and support women. Specifically, the Union proactively and actively detected and introduced qualified personnel into the planning and participation in the leadership at all levels. The Union has supported women to access credit, vocational training, supported women to start-ups; built women’s capacity to participate in solving a number of social issues related to women.
From 2022, the VWU for the first time chaired and implemented the Project 8 of the national target programs towards changing the mindset and awareness, gender equality’s implementation for women and children in ethnic minority.
Thirdly, the Union launched campaigns and emulation movements towards promoting women's comprehensive development. In particular, in the term of 2022-2027, the Union launched the emulation movement “Vietnamese women in the new period” with knowledge, ethics, health, responsibility to themselves, their families, society and the country, which encourages women to promote their spirit and aspiration to devote their talents and wisdom, and contribute to the construction, protection and development of the country.
President of the Vietnam Women's Union Ha Thi Nga visited and encouraged female officers and soldiers of Vietnam’s No.3 Level-2 Field Hospital before leaving for duty at the United Nations Mission in Bentiu, on April 21, 2021. (Source: VNA)
What difficulties are Vietnamese women facing in the current context?
In addition to their achievements, women are facing many challenges.
The percentage of female workers who are unemployed is higher than that of male workers. Women's unpaid care work is almost twice as much as men's. Having to spend time in unpaid work is limiting women's opportunities to improve their knowledge, skills, participation in community activities and their own health towards their full development.
In addition, although the number of women-owned enterprises has increased rapidly in recent years, currently accounting for 26.5% of the total number of enterprises, the borrowing power of women-owned enterprises is 10% lower than similar enterprises run by men. Even when a loan is obtained, the loan amount is usually smaller and has a shorter term.
According to UNDP research results published in 2022, although the proportion of Vietnamese women in politics is higher than the world average, women only hold about 21% of key positions.
There are many social problems that negatively affect women: Poverty, climate change, changing family functions; physical domestic violence, drugs, prostitution, HIV/AIDS infection, especially cases of abuse and violence are increasing sophisticatedly, complicatedly and seriously, threatening the safety of women and children. In addition, a large number of women have been facing unprecedented uncertainties due to the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic such as health effects, poverty, shortages in knowledge, skills and integration opportunities.
However, the biggest challenge is prejudices and gender stereotypes which are limiting the roles and capacities of women. These prejudices and stereotypes exist even among women, causing them to lack confidence in their job choice, self-development, and career orientation for their children.
On this occasion, what do you want to say to Vietnamese women in the modern day, the descendants of Trung sisters?
On the occasion of the 1983rd anniversary of the Hai Ba Trung Uprising and the 113th anniversary of International Women's Day on March 8, I would like to extend my best wishes to the heroic Vietnamese mothers and also Vietnamese women at home and abroad. Wishing you always be good health, happiness and success.
I believe that, inheriting the tradition of heroism, determination, faithfulness, resourcefulness that Vietnamese women have created and preserved, each woman will promote initiative, creativity, bravery to overcome all difficulties, continue to make worthy contributions to the construction of a prosperous and great country.
The Vietnam Women's Union organized the International Partnership Meeting “Join hands for women's progress and sustainable development” on April 1, 2022. (Source: VWU)