UN Women in Viet Nam
Policy Dialogue on International Women's Day; Empowering Rural Women and Girls
HA NOI, March 2012 – Every year the 8th March marks International Women’s Day. People around the world celebrate the important role women play in building a secure future for their families, their communities and their countries, and the many achievements women have made. The theme this year is based on the theme of the 56th Commission on the Status of Women: “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication”.
In Viet Nam a policy dialogue, organized by UN Women, brought together 200 participants including policy makers and national experts from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam (NCFAW); the Ministry of Planning and Investment; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism; the NCFAW; the Viet Nam Women’s Union; UN agencies in Viet Nam; the World Bank; bilateral and other multilateral donors, as well as NGOs and the media.
Speaking at the event Ms. Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, Minister of MOLISA and Chairwoman of the NCFAW, affirmed the government's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment through the implementation of related gender equality policies and programmes. Despite the fact that rural women contribute much too agricultural production and domestic food processing, people's awareness of women's roles and gender equality is still limited. Women and girls in rural, ethnic, mountainous and remote areas are particularly disadvantaged, compared to men and urban women, in equal access to education, job opportunities, information and good living standards. "Ensuring equal access to basic services for rural women is one of the critical strategies to eradicate poverty and pave the way towards sustainable development," said the Minister.
Ms. Pratibha Mehta, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam highlighted the key role played by rural women. “Rural women are key agents of change. Yet, the challenges faced by the world’s rural women and girls mirrors that of women and girls internationally and in Viet Nam – from pervasive gender-based violence to sex ratio at birth imbalances,” she said. “Viet Nam has an impressive policy and legal framework in place on issues of gender equality and women's empowerment. It is now time for action and enforcement of these policies, laws and strategies, particularly at the sub-national level,” Pratibha Mehta said.
During the dialogue, Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, Director of the Institute for Labour, Science and Social Affairs, MOLISA, shared information on key challenges facing rural women and proposed solutions to help them overcome these. The Viet Nam Women’s Union presented key activities and interventions at the grassroot level that have been successful in supporting rural women and renewed their support for ensuring the rights, benefits and access to economic opportunities for rural women in Viet Nam.
Ms. Suzette Mitchell, UN Women Country Representative and co-chair of the Gender Programme Coordinator Group presented key findings from recent research supported by the United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam in the areas of masculinities and gender-based violence; gender-related obstacles to Vietnamese women entrepreneurs; and gender equality in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction were presented.
A key message that came out of the dialogue was a commitment to continue to work with the Government of Viet Nam to support the effective implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality (2011-2020) and the National Programme on Gender Equality (2011-2015) and ensuring that rural women and girls are prioritized in policies and programmes in the coming years.