Nhan Dan Online – Vietnam’s remarkable progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) for women and girls was fully recognised at a key policy dialogue, held by the United Nations and Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in Hanoi on March 7.
The event was organised to highlight the success and to seek ways to accelerate progress towards reaching the MDG targets by next year’s deadline and to propose measures to strive for gender equality in formulating new sustainable development goals in the post-2015 development agenda.
Addressing the opening, Minister of MOLISA Nguyen Thi Hai Chuyen said that the Party and State always sees the construction and development of policies and programmes specifically aimed at promoting gender equality and ensuring girls and women’s rights very important.
A number of new policies, issued recently, have contributed to improving the law and programmes on gender equality such as increasing the maternity leave of women employees from four months to six; issuing directions on enhancing the participation of women in senior leadership positions in related State ministries, agencies and departments; and in preventing sexual harassment at the workplace.
Notably, in 2013 the country adopted the revised Constitution, the contents of which further confirms equality for male and female citizens and outlines the State’s responsibility in adopting policies to ensure gender-based equal rights and prohibits gender discrimination.
According to the minister, better legal systems have helped improve public awareness of gender equality and elevated the enforcement of the related laws and regulations as well as realisation of the MDGs.
Detailed statistics from MOLISA have revealed that in 2013, the nation’s labour force reached 53.8 million people, of which women accounted for 48.5%, whilst the ratio of female business owners reached over 20%. The percentage of literate women aged 15-35 was as high as 98.9%.
However, challenges and obstacles remain, said Shoko Ishikawa, UN Women Country Representative in Vietnam, quoting statistics from the UN system showing that gender-based violence against women and girls is prevalent, with 58% of married women experiencing domestic violence at some point in their life; gender imbalance at birth is on the rise (from 106.2 boys per 100 girls in 2000 climbing to 112.3/100 in 2012), and the continuing gender gap in earnings.
During the event, key research findings were shared by the Vietnam Women’s Union and the Institute of Family and Gender Studies for the government and the UN in Vietnam to use in their work for gender equality.