“Joining hands, changing together” in gender equality activism
|On October 5, 2023, President Vo Van Thuong meets with representatives of the Vietnam Association of Women Entrepreneurs (VAWE) on the occassion of the Vietnamese Entrepreneurs’ Day (October 13) and the anniversary of the Vietnam Women's Union (October 20). (Photo: VNA)
Bright spot on gender equality
With the attention of the Party and State, in recent times, Vietnam has been evaluated as one of the 10 countries that best implement goal number 5 of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The country has made impressive advances in narrowing the gender gap in many fields and this year, and as a result, it increased 11 places in gender equality compared to 2022 (from 83rd to 72nd out of 146 ranked countries).
Important positions in Vietnam's political system are being filled by a growing number of women. The proportion of women participating in executive committees at all levels in all terms has increased. The percentage of women deputies in the 15th National Assembly reached 30.26%, higher than the regional and global average, placing first in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.
Over 40% of scientists in Vietnam are women. The proportion of women-owned enterprises reached 26.5%, among the highest in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is one of the leading countries with the rate of women joining in peacekeeping activities at 16%, compared to the average percentage of 10% of other countries).
Regarding the sports sector, for the first time in history, the Vietnamese’s women football team won tickets to attend the 2023 Women’s World Cup finals, emphasizing that women are increasingly integrating into the pinnacle of world sports.
However, violence against women and children is still serious and is the leading obstacle in promoting gender equality and building a growing, progressive, and civilized society in Vietnam. Pursuant to the 2019 National Study on Violence Against Women in Vietnam and related research reports and statistics, nearly 63% of women have suffered at least one form of violence from their husbands.
According to incomplete statistics, across the country, on average per day, 64 women, 10 children, and 7 elderly people are victims of domestic violence (in 2020). Women who are victims of violence by their husbands or someone else are three times more likely to suffer mental health problems than those who have never experienced violence. Women with physical and/or sexual violence spend approximately more than 9 million VND as a direct result of the violence, accounting for 25% of their annual income. On average, each year, an estimated 100.507 billion VND, equivalent to 1.81% of the national GDP (in 2018) is lost due to violence against women, leading to loss of labor productivity.
Under the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, disease and economic pressures and life’s difficulties cause violence against women and girls tends to increase, exacerbating existing challenges and creating new threats. This urges all parties, agencies, organizations, individuals, and social communities to join hands, coordinate actions, ensure social security for people, and invest resources to promote gender equality and eliminate gender-based violence.
|Delegates attended the media event to prevent and respond to gender-based violence “Joining hands, changing together” in Hanoi, November 25, 2023. (Photo: CPV)
More drastic actions are necessary
As an organization representing the voice of Vietnamese women, the Vietnam Women’s Union always strives to implement social mobilization activities to perform gender equality and prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The Association at all levels has focused resources and organized practical activities, including ensuring social security for women and children. Typical programs and projects are “Godmother”, “Accompanying frontier women”, and “Implementing gender equality and solving women and children’s urgent issues in ethnic minority and mountainous areas”.
On November 25, chosen by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Hanoi, the Central Vietnam Women’s Union held an event to respond to the National Action Month on Gender Equality and Gender-based violence Prevention and Response 2023 with the theme “Joining hands, changing together”.
Addressing the program, Central President of the Vietnam Women’s Union Ha Thi Nga stated that women empowerment, gender equality investment, and violence prevention against women and children has become more important than ever, providing benefits to women, families, society, and the national economy. Joining hands and close coordination are vital to implement more drastic actions to effectively prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
In the 2023 Action Month for Gender Equality and prevention and response to gender-based violence themed “Ensuring social security, empowering and creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve gender equality and eliminate gender-based violence”, the Vietnam Women’s Union organized a seminar “Expanding maternity coverage in Vietnam”, contributing to ensuring social security. The Union also created a CAM Podcast series with guests - social activists sharing their perspectives on gender equality and gender-based violence, spreading gender equality messages.