Int'l voices advocate migrant women's empowerment in digital world
|Women particularly migrant women looking for jobs have faced growing risks on online spaces. (Source: Vietnam Times)|
Around the world, more people are on the move than ever before. Many of them are seeking new opportunities and a better life for themselves and their families. Others are forced to move due to disaster or conflict. Gender is central to any discussion of the causes and consequences of migration, whether forced, voluntary or somewhere in between.
Migration is an integral part of Vietnam’s overall development as reflected in the number of Vietnamese citizens migrating for work, study, marriage, family unification and other purposes both internally and abroad. Labour migration has become a steady contribution to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.
Vietnamese women make up 55,5% of the country migrant population according to the Vietnam Women’s Union survey. In 2020, there were 3.4 million Vietnamese who migrated (3.3% of total population), among which 1.71 million were women (50.3% of total migrants). While migration has provided many women with opportunities to improve their lives and families, Vietnamese migrant women at the same time face challenges especially in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0).
With nearly 80% of working-age women in Vietnam being either low-skilled or unskilled, migrant women workers make up a sizable proportion of the labour force engaged in lower-skilled economic sectors or labour-intensive positions, which account for nearly 74% of all jobs in Vietnam.
As the IR 4.0 is rolled out, automation and technological advancements are forecasted to cause a rapid decline in demand for unskilled and low-skilled labour. Up to 86% of workers in Vietnam's textile and footwear industries are at risk of losing their job within the next 15 years. In this context, migrant women workers are among the most affected by IR 4.0 as they account for a large proportion of the low-skilled labour force.
In another aspect, women particularly migrant women looking for jobs have faced growing risks on online spaces. This is because on the one hand, the online platform has become an increasingly popular channel for searching job opportunities, on the other hand, technology enables traffickers to easily recruit victims. Women especially young women and girls with unskilled or low-skilled have been targeted by smugglers and traffickers whose criminal operations are transnational. Trafficked Vietnamese including women are found not only in Europe, North America, and the Gulf countries, but also in Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and African countries.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023, the UN Resident Coordinator, IOM Chief of Mission and Ambassadors from Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Sweden, UK and the US joined their voices to celebrate the strength of women and girls on the move, and to raise awareness of and advocate for empowering migrant women with access to skilling and upskilling opportunities in order to bridge the digital gender divide in migration and strengthen female migrants' resilience and competitiveness in the digital world.