Increased women representation ensures gender equality

17 Oct 2013

Female leaders sought solutions to meet 35 percent women representation target

Ha Noi - A high-level seminar today focused on how to increase women’s representation in elected positions to 35 percent in 2016. The discussion brought together representatives from the Party; Government; Standing Committee of the Women Parliamentarians Group; People’s Committees of several provinces; as well as Ambassadors and representatives from International Organizations.

The seminar, held following the celebration of the 20th founding anniversary of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women (NCFAW), was chaired by Ms Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, Chairperson of NCFAW and Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, with support from the UN Development Prgramme and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Viet Nam has only 24 percent women in the current National Assembly (2011-2016), a decline of nearly 3 percent since 2002. Meanwhile, women account for approximately 25 percent in the elected bodies at the provincial and district levels and only 21 percent at the commune level.

Ms Chuyen put forward questions for discussion at the seminar: “While there are strong laws and strategies in place for women’s representation, what are the reasons for the unstable and low representation rate; for the lower rate in the delta compared to that of the mountainous areas; and for the higher rate in provincial and district levels compared to that of the central and commune levels?”

“The shortage of female leaders and managers in a number of important areas has led to under representation of women in policy making process, thus making it difficult to achieve gender equality goals in all aspects,” she noted.

The National Strategy on Gender Equality for the period of 2011-2020 set a target of a minimum of 35 percent women’s representation for the 2016 election. Participants in the seminar sought break-through as well as long-term solutions to achieve the target, particularly through the activities for the Elections for the National Assembly and People’s Council at all levels for the 2016-2021 period.

Ms Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam, offered some practical solutions to addressing the challenge. “In the previous three elections, only 32 to 34 percent of the candidates were women,” she noted. “One of the concrete steps is to ensure that a minimim of 50 percent of the candidates are highly qualified women. Having gender parity on the ballot is an integral part of achieving the government target.”

Ms Chamberlain suggested to have a clear human resource plan in place with the intention to increase the number of women in senior level government positions and to remove differential retirement age to ensure the same employment opportunities, training, promotion and job security for women. She also highlighted the need for men to share household work and childcare to improve women’s ability to engage in policical office and public service.

On this ocasion, the UNDP Country Director released an innovative film that captures the practical solutions to reversing the recent decline in the number of women elected to the the National Assembly. The film is based on an extensive research with current and retired members of the National Assembly, the Women’s Union, the Fatherland Front, the Government and civil society in Viet Nam.

“I encourage you to use the film to raise awareness of the Government-set target of a minimum of 35 percent in the next election to counter the declining rate of women’s  representation,” Ms Chamberlain said.

More resources:
The video:
http://www.un.org.vn/en/videos-press-centre-submenu-279/2827-35.html
Policy brief on Women’s representation in the National Assembly
Fact sheet

Media contact:

Empowerman of Women in the Public Sector Project
Tel: (84-4) 39448526, email: eowproject@gmail.com