Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen made the statement at a policy dialogue on gender equality held jointly by the United Nations (UN) in Vietnam, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the National Committee for the Advance of Women in Hanoi this morning to commemorate International Women’s Day.
The policy dialogue, entitled ‘Empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication’, aims to honour the economic, political, and social achievements of Vietnamese women, particularly those from rural areas, and provide policy makers with research and recommendations on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Vietnam for better laws and strategies in the near future.
Speaking at the dialogue, Minister Chuyen praised Vietnamese women’s contribution to national socio-economic development, adding that rural women have contributed greatly to agricultural production and food processing.
However, rural women and girls particularly those in ethnic, mountainous, and remote areas still face difficulties in accessing information, education, job opportunities, and heath care services, in comparison to urban women.
The Minister affirmed that ensuring equal access to basic services for rural women and girls is an effective strategy to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, in a bid to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.
She also stressed the need to support rural women in vocational training and job creation as well as provide them with knowledge and skills along with assessment to credit and loans.
Regarding the UN’s role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Vietnam, UN Resident Co-ordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta committed the organisation’s support for Vietnam in combating gender-based violence, addressing the rapidly rising imbalanced sex-ratio at birth, and creating more employment opportunities for women.
She added that the UN is co-operating with the Vietnam Women’s Union to improve rural women’s lives through encouraging them to get involved in disaster risk reduction and management and assisting them in household agriculture and production.
The UN will invest around US$40 million in gender equality and women’s empowerment in Vietnam for the next five years, double the budget for the 2006-2011 period.
The organisation also committed to working closely with Vietnamese partners to support the effective implementation of the new National Strategy for Gender Equality (2011-2020) to ensure real equality for women and girls in the coming years.
“Vietnam has put impressive policies and legal frameworks in place to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment”, said Mehta. “It is now time for action and enforcement of these policies, laws, and strategies, particularly at the sub-national level”.