Seminar discusses women’s economic empowerment to sustain gender equality


The seminar discusses women’s economic empowerment amidst significant changes in the world of work.

Implementing gender equality in the field of labour and employment in Vietnam still runs into a range of difficulties and challenges, while females’ employment quality is still low and the stability and sustainability of their employment is not high.
This assessment was given at a policy event on gender equality held in Hanoi on March 3 by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) in Vietnam to mark International Women’s Day.
Gathering nearly 100 delegates from relevant ministries, agencies, civil society, international organisations and donors, the event was held under the theme “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work,” emphasising the importance of continued efforts and investments in the economic empowerment of women amidst significant changes in employment around the world. This is also the global theme that the UN and member states have chosen for 2017.
Positive support policies for women to take part in the labour force
Reports at the seminar showed that Vietnam has achieved remarkable economic growth in the past 30 years. As a dynamic, emerging economy, about 73% of its women participate in its economy—the third-highest rate in ASEAN, where average is around 65.5%.
According to MOLISA Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, the country has 53.3 million employed workers, of which women account for approximately 48.5%. In 2016, around 1.6 million jobs were created, of which female workers accounted for 48%.
A range of support programmes and projects for women to access employment and labour market information have been efficiently deployed, while credit incentives for disadvantaged households headed by women to help them escape from poverty have been particularly focused on.
Since 1992, the National Fund on Employment has significantly provided support for workers, especially women in rural areas. As of November 2016, the total funding from the fund has reached over VND5 trillion (US$220 million), contributing to creating jobs for about 100,000 workers per year, of which females account for 63%.
However, gender inequality in the labour market is still prevalent and limits the economic empowerment of women in Vietnam. Social norms whereby women are expected to do housework and take care of children, while ensuring a balance between housing and social work, are difficulties preventing women from seizing sustainable job opportunities.
Women often work in fields that do not require high expertise, especially textiles, footwear and services. Meanwhile, the proportion of female workers in the informal sector also accounts for a high percentage: 62.4% female employees are unpaid while working in their families, 41.1% of female workers do simple jobs and 43.6% of women work in the agricultural sector.
Demolishing barriers to empower women
Economic empowerment for women requires the elimination of barriers, including discrimination in the law and social norms, to promote equality in access to opportunities and the results of economic development.
To promote the more vigorous implementation of national objectives for gender equality in the field of labour and employment, Minister Dung stressed the need to review a number of policies and programmes related to the economic power and ownership of women, as well as their equal rights at the workplace in both the formal and informal sectors.
At the same time, there should be a clear definition of the role and responsibilities of governments, international organisations and the private sector in shaping and influencing the world as regards the task of empowering of women.
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra, suggested enabling women to diversify their occupational choices and enter jobs in emerging fields and growing economic sectors by expanding the scope of education and training opportunities, particularly by providing young women with access to skills and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematical education and digital fluency.
As agriculture still remains the dominant sector of employment in Vietnam, it is also important to invest in improving the productivity and earning capacity of women who rely on agriculture as their main source of livelihood and ensure that female small-scale farmers are not left behind in efforts to promote contract farming in high-value products and international value chains.
Another focus should be on expanding and reprioritising fiscal expenditures for social protection and care infrastructure, such as early childhood education and healthcare, elderly care and maternity protection to reduce the burden on women of caring for their families work, the UN official suggested.
At the event, experts in the field of gender, labour and employment shared Vietnam’s and other countries’ experiences with ensuring job opportunities for female workers in the current context, as well as discussing measures to make gender equality and economic empowerment for women the focus of national economic development plans.
MOLISA Minister Dao Ngoc Dung addresses the seminar.

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra speaks at the seminar.

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All comments [ 10 ]

John Smith 6/3/17 13:51

Women, especially those from rural and ethnic minority areas in Vietnam, are much more likely than men to be excluded from economic opportunities, and to derive livelihoods from lower value, less skilled and less secure work.

LawrenceSamuels 6/3/17 13:52

Empowering women to participate actively in the economy is critical to reducing poverty and building a sustainable economy, and we will work to support women’s economic empowerment, including for those most excluded.

Gentle Moon 6/3/17 13:54

Empowering women to participate actively in the economy is critical to reducing poverty and building a sustainable economy, and we will work to support women’s economic empowerment, including for those most excluded.

yobro yobro 6/3/17 13:55

Accounting for 48.6 per cent of the labour force, Vietnamese women contributed to the development of the national economy, poverty reduction, job creation and technical innovation.

Jane smartnic 6/3/17 13:56

Women's empowerment was necessary in the fight to achieve gender equality.

Love Peace 6/3/17 13:58

We need more programme to offer opportunities to identifiy women's initiatives that think outside the box and act beyond existing, predefined parameters and traditional interventions.

MaskOf Zero 6/3/17 13:58

We can improve the lives of women and girls in Viet Nam and make gender equality a reality.

Only Solidar 6/3/17 14:00

Vietnam is not the only country that has given women the right to include their name in property titles; in fact, most national legislations do provide for joint titles.

Pack Cassiopian 6/3/17 14:01

What is unique about Vietnam is the government’s concerted effort to implement the measure as widely as possible, as well as an understanding within society that joint titles can play a major role in improving women’s economic status.

Deck Hero14 6/3/17 14:01

It was a significant move in the Vietnam allowing women a better equality and autonomy.

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