Women’s empowerment and sustainable development

Alyssa Fernandez Senz, the UN Women Representative in Vietnam, says sustainable development must benefit all sections of the population, especially women in vulnerable situations. Vietnam Mail.

>> Gender equality today for a sustainable future
>> Socio-economic integration of women of ethnic descent
>> Sports in the service of women’s liberation
>> Women’s sports are on the rise in Vietnam

What do you think of the progress Vietnam has made in recent years in terms of gender equality?

Alyssa Fernandez Senz, UN Women Representative in Vietnam. Photo: Van Anh / CVN

Vietnam is a country committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment. It signed an international treaty which was later translated into national law. The country has amended its constitution, enacted laws in favor of gender equality, and so on. For example, there are laws on domestic violence that specifically translate into public policy to promote gender equality, the issue of violence against women, and to re-examine the situation of ethnic minorities …

The biggest challenge today is the practical implementation of these rules. And here we have to work hard to make the law a reality. Only then can we talk about real equality (Real equality In English). What we want is that in everyday life, women actually find themselves in a situation of equality with men.

What are the challenges facing Vietnam to achieve this real equality between men and women?

The biggest difficulty is to turn these promises into reality. For example, we see the limits of women’s participation in political life. In the National Assembly, if women represent 30% of the deputies, which is higher than the world average, today we are talking about equality, meaning that 50% of elected women reach brackets.

The government currently has a woman minister. So we want to see more women leaders in the state apparatus. So the challenge is to reduce the barriers for women to reach leadership positions.

Much progress has been made in recent years, and today we must focus on the most vulnerable, especially women with disabilities, so that the slogan “Don’t hold anyone back” becomes a reality.

What do we know about the effects of sex due to health crisis?

The COVID-19 epidemic has certainly had health effects but also socio-economic effects. It has affected the lives of families especially women. The last two years have seen an increase in domestic violence around the world, including in Vietnam. We have worked with government agencies to get more services, more communication to prevent this social phenomenon We have worked closely with the Vietnam Women’s Union to create more messages on this issue.

The epidemic had a strong economic impact, and women in the informal sector – the most vulnerable – were the first to be affected. This included their unpaid work. In fact, social exclusion and school closures have increased the pressure on women to take care of children and do unpaid housework. So it is important for society to think about this. Both men and women have to take care of household chores. Equality begins in the family home.

Faced with this situation, is UN Women implementing a strong policy to help women?

Gender equality should be seen as an important issue for the sustainable development of Vietnam. Photo: Hong Deep / VNA / CVN

UN Women is working with a number of actors in the country to analyze and better understand the situation at different levels, then to take the most appropriate action. It works with governments at the central level to amend laws that are more progressive and protective of women, but also at the provincial and municipal levels. She is constantly working with the Vietnam Women’s Union, with civil society organizations that are very involved at the community level and much more. We are particularly committed to preventing gender-based violence through information and awareness campaigns.

As UN Women Representative in Vietnam, what advice would you give to the Vietnamese government to strengthen the results and address the endless problem of gender equality?

I think for sustainable development in Vietnam we must first give this question a central dimension, where women represent half of the population! We must pay close attention to the special needs of women and ask ourselves how women can be considered for more active participation, so that their voices can be heard at the same level as men in decision making.

What is the place of women in sports lately?

We see more and more women participating in high level sports. And it is seen as a symbol of the recognition of women in society. The whole country is celebrating the qualification of Vietnam women’s football team for the 2023 World Cup. This is awesome, I congratulate these young ladies!

But work needs to be done to truly promote women’s participation in sports. The ultimate goal will be to eradicate harmful practices in the area, as there are still many sexists or gender biases that limit their full participation and success in this sector. Change requires the involvement of many factors, athletes but government authorities, media and so on.

Interview with Vân Anh / CVN

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