Viet Nam leads region in closing gender gap

KHANH HOA — Viet Nam has achieved the best performance in Southeast Asia in eradicating the gender gap over the past 20 years, said Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at a seminar in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Saturday.

Viet Nam's gender development index climbed to 0.732 in 2009, ranking 94th out of the 155 surveyed nations, said Ngan, who also heads the National Committee for the Advancement of Women.

Women currently accounted for 26 per cent of deputies in the National Assembly, putting Viet Nam at the top of the list of eight Southeast Asian nations with parliaments and fourth in the Asia-Pacific region overall, Ngan added.

However, UN Development Programme (UNDP) country director Setsuko Yamazaki suggested that Viet Nam further increase the awareness and political will of women so that they could engage in higher leadership positions.

Viet Nam should also encourage localities to bring national gender equality policies to life and hold training courses to increase the capacity of women, Yamazaki said.

Cao Tran Quoc Hai, deputy director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Multilateral Economic Co-operation Department, also urged the Government to complete the legal system and establish specialised agencies to implement and monitor gender equality efforts.

The seminar, entitled Enhancing the Position of Women in Development and International Integration, was co-hosted by the National Committee for the Advancement of Women, the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNDP. Nearly 50 participated, including the ambassadors of Finland, Ireland, Canada and Laos. — VNS