Rights and interests of female migrant workers to be ensured before, during and after migration

In order to provide social criticism and contribute to achieving gender equality goals, on the morning of May 19, 2020 the Vietnam Women's Union (VWU) organized a consultation workshop on gender aspects of the Draft Law on Vietnamese guest workers under contract (amended) (Law No. 72).
Workshops participants

The workshop aims to identify gender issues in the draft Law No. 72 to better protect legal rights and interests of Vietnamese guest workers, especially women in all three stages: before – during – after migration.

The workshop was co-chaired by VWU Vice President Bui Thi Hoa and UN Women Representative in Vietnam Elisa Fernandez, and attended by Mr. Bui Sy Loi, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Social Affairs, Mr. Chang - Hee Lee, Director of ILO in Vietnam, Mr. Tom Corrie, Deputy Head of Cooperation Department, European Union Delegation in Vietnam, and representatives of various National Assembly Committees, ministries, agencies, and professional experts.

According to the situation brief at the workshop, on average, Vietnam has about 80,000 workers migrating abroad each year, in which female workers account for 35-40% and the number tends to increase. The majority of female guest workers are employed in low-skilled jobs, in factories, as housekeepers or farmers and often paid less than men.

Besides, female migrant workers also face many challenges before, during and after their migration, such as limited access to recruitment information, training on work safety and legal migration services; inadequate working and living conditions abroad; high risk of being abused, especially sexually abused leading to more exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS; difficulties in seeking legal aids; stress, loneliness and fears; challenges in seeking jobs and enhancing expertise after migration; and domestic problems related to marital relations and child raising.  

VWU Vice President Bui Thi Hoa and UN Women Representative in Vietnam Elisa Fernandez chair workshop

Speaking at the workshop, Ms. Bui Thi Hoa, VWU Vice President appreciated the organization of the workshop for its contribution to improving Vietnam's legal and policy system and mobilizing inputs from national and international experts on gender issues in the Draft Law on Vietnamese guest workers under contract (amended) for a more effective and practical law which is in line with the 2013 Constitution provisions, the Party's guidelines, thus contributing to achieving gender equality goals, particularly the SDG 5 on gender equality and women's empowerment in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Elisa Fernandez, UN Women Representative in Viet Nam, emphasized that the amendment of the Law on Vietnamese guest workers under contracts is an opportunity to ensure the integration of international commitments into Vietnamese laws.

At the workshop, participants focused on discussing the scope and target groups of the Law; workers' rights and obligations; state management and responsibilities of enterprises sending Vietnamese guest workers abroad under contracts; policies for workers and female workers after returning home, etc. Many participants agreed that the Law No. 72 should be gender responsive and should identify and actively address gender barriers and protect the rights of female migrant workers.

The VWU will review all the inputs at the workshop and finalize the proposal for amendments of the Draft Law with the expectation that the new provisions will contribute to narrowing of the gender gap and achieving substantive gender equality to ensure that both men and women can enjoy equally from the social development.


Translated by VWU International Relations Department