Workplace gender equality – Enhancing sustainable values

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Investing In Women just launched a Vietnam country brief on the business case for women in business and management in Vietnam.

Australian Deputy Ambassador Andrew Barnes and Ha Thu Thanh, Chairperson and one of the founders of Deloitte Vietnam, presenting Certificate of Membership to new VBCWE’s members: Newday Media, VBOX, and PDA & PARTNERS. Source: Australian Embassy

The ILO report was launched in Hanoi on November 17 at the workshop on “Workplace gender equality – Enhancing sustainable values”. The event was co-organized by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vietnam Business Coalition for Women’s Empowerment (VBCWE), the Investing in Women project and the ILO.

The report entitled "Leading to success: The business case for women in business and management in Vietnam" demonstrates that women’s equal workforce participation is good for business. Based on a global survey with 12,940 businesses in 70 countries, and drawing on responses of some 300 businesses across Vietnam, it provides strong evidence on the positive impacts of gender diversity to profitability, better business outcomes, and retention of qualified talent.

It also notes the importance of firms being aware of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s workforce participation and caring workloads, and the need for firms to incorporate gender equality considerations into their emergency and recovery plans.

Well-designed policies to foster recovery can mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on women and prevent further setbacks for gender equality. What is good for women is ultimately good for addressing income inequality, economic growth and resilience.

Addressing the opening, VCCI Vice President Hoang Quang Phong admitted that gender inequality remains a major challenge for the country’s sustainable development.

“Although women contribute a great deal to the society and economy, they have not been appreciated in the labour markets and have yet to benefit from the economic development equally as men,” he said.

Vietnam is making positive changes towards reducing gender inequality of opportunity between women and men in the labour market.

The revised Labour Code, which will take effect on 1 January 2021, has marked significant steps in reducing the gender gaps in retirement age and discrimination in the workplace. The draft of Vietnam’s Socio Economic Development Strategy for 2021-30 period also calls for gender gaps to be reduced in the political, economic, and social lives of citizens.

“In Vietnam, as in Australia, realizing the full potential of women to participate in the economy has a huge bearing on growth, competitiveness and socioeconomic development,” said Australia’s Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam, Andrew Barnes. “The report being launched today provides further evidence as to why we must maintain our commitment to workplace gender equality”.

While businesses are very well positioned to reduce gender gaps in their leadership, according to the ILO Vietnam’s labour economist, they cannot do it alone.

“Leadership from the top is essential to translate the facts and findings that we read in the brief, into action,” he said.

At the event, a new business certificate for workplace gender equality was also awarded to Power Generation Corporation 3, the eighth company in Vietnam receiving the acknowledgement. The certification is based on EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), a global benchmarking methodology launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011 to help companies assess their work environment and build proper action plans to create an optimal workplace for women and men.

Mai Nguyen