New law for gender equality will raise social awareness

On the occasion of a drafting workshop for the law for gender equality, VWR talks with Mme Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu, chairwomen of national assembly’s committee of social affairs

VWR: Although the issue of Gender Equality has been mentioned at several government conferences, this is the first time Gender Equality is the main theme of a national law. Could you please tell us the meaning and benefits of the Law, if it is approved?


Mme Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu: In the 5th Session, Vietnamese National Assembly voted to amend the Law for Gender Equality during the law-drafting program of tenure XI. I think this was a victory and a step towards constructing an equal society. The current issue is how to address particular problems relate to gender equality through this law. For example, how can we ensure equality in politics, economic and social activities? Women can participate in all aspects of life, just as men can, but it is necessary to have sanctions to minimize the unfairness. In reality, some offices and branches have o­nly appointed men to positions although they might be filled equally well by a woman. If the law for gender equality is approved, these offices will be forced to pay more attention to gender equality and women’s interests, as well as minimize all forms of discrimination, including family violence. Additionally, the Law would raise social awareness, and encourage women to be more confident and aggressive. So, the Law is expected to play an essential role in the creation of a just, democratic and civilized society.


VWR: What will we do to popularize the Law?


Mme Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu: I think all regulations, including this law, should be publicized properly in order to create an accurate public awareness. There is a direct relationship between awareness and action. It is not just the task of VNU to publicize the law, but all of society, because it is a law from the nation>s political system. In short, to transform the law from a paper document to something that influences people>s actions will require a serious effort, and the media has an essential role in publicizing the law to the people.


VWR: And what is the stance o­n sanctions?


Mme Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu: This is the first draft of the law so it cannot be perfect at this moment. The law needs the input from all levels of the government and society to be more reliable and practical. I think that if the sanctions are regulated by the law, they may overlap with similar regulations in other existing laws, such as crime laws or civil law. So, it will be better if the sanctions of the Law for gender equality are not strict solutions but general regulations.


VWR: What do you hope will be the impact of the law after it is issued?


Mme Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu: Despite several years of discussion about gender equality, I do believe that a specific law o­n gender equality will be able to change public attitudes. So far, the government and the people understand the concept of gender equality, as the issue is regularly covered by mass media and related workshops. We are now going to create a law to systematically define and combat gender inequality. Initially, the law will effect major changes in governmental offices, and then in legal regulations, which are promulgated later. When the law is officially issued, the National Assembly’s deputies will use its content to create other policies.

However, I hope that we will not require that the law be perfect. It is always necessary to put the law into practice.