National Programme of Action to Promote Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Ha Noi, 21 December, 2009 – Pursuant to the Law on Gender Equality, the Government of Viet Nam has recently approved a National Programme of Action to 2020 to support the empowerment and advancement of women in the current period of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country. This document codifies the government’s commitments to eliminate gender inequalities, and reinforces the recognition of women’s significant contributions to socio-economic development and poverty eradication.

The Programme of Action aims to enhance multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary coordination and collaboration among all line ministries and agencies at different levels, and improve the effectiveness of state management o­n gender equality.

The Programme lists a series of activities to be undertaken by ministries and agencies at all levels in order to improve women’s access to additional educational opportunities, and develop their vocational skills and knowledge to enhance their employment opportunities. The Programme intends to strengthen the capacity and accountability of government officials and staff in areas related to gender equality and gender mainstreaming. It also supports development of pilot models o­n gender equality for implementation in some localities; as well as education and communication activities related to the Law o­n Preventing Domestic Violence.  Importantly, the Programme establishes gender-sensitive indicators for evaluating gender equality implementation in the field of education and training, amongst others.

“This Programme of Action also sets a legal foundation for the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and other line ministries to coordinate in developing a National Strategy o­n Gender Equality for the period 2011-2020, and a National Target Programme o­n Gender Equality for the period 2011-2015 in order to help Viet Nam become o­ne of the most progressive countries in the region in terms of gender equality,” said Mr. Pham Ngoc Tien, Director of the Gender Equality Department of MOLISA.

Aiming to better implement the law and ensure gender equality, the government has also issued three important decrees. Decree 70 of 4 June 2008 provides details for the enforcement of relevant stipulations of the Gender Equality Law. It establishes the responsibilities of ministries, ministerial-level agencies and people’s committees in implementing the law and provides specific guidelines o­n gender equality.

On the other hand, Decree 48 of 19 May 2008 specifies the requirements, contents and forms of information, education and communication about gender and gender equality. In addition, it indicates that gender should be mainstreamed in all legal documents by national and local authorities. Decree 48 requires the participation of the national gender machinery, such us the Women’s Union and the National Committee for Advancement of Women, in the drafting process of legal documents as well as during consultations with gender specialists and organizations. The responsibilities of different bodies to ensure gender mainstreaming in legal documents is also reflected in this document.

Decree 55, issued o­n 10 June 2009, sets out administrative acts, penalties, procedures and the jurisdiction related to penalties for both intentional and unintentional violations of provisions of the Gender Equality Law.

Despite this legal framework, the implementation of the Law o­n Gender Equality Law and the Law o­n Domestic Violence Prevention and Control has faced several challenges, especially in terms of capacity building of all relevant bodies o­n gender equality and gender mainstreaming. To address this issue, the Government of Viet Nam and the United Nations launched last March the Joint Programme o­n Gender. During the first ten months of implementation, this programme has raised awareness among government officials of the two laws and has increased their knowledge of ways to implement, monitor, evaluate and report o­n these regulations. Gender has been mainstreamed in different sectors and documents, including in the labour force survey and the agriculture and rural survey currently being carried out by MOLISA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, respectively.