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Policy Event on “Empowering Rural Women for Vietnam’s Sustainable Development”

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Ha Noi, 8th March 2018 – In commemoration of International Women's Day, the United Nations in Viet Nam together with Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Viet Nam National Committee for the Advancement of Women held a policy event on "Empowering Rural Women for Vietnam's Sustainable Development" in Ha Noi. The event brought together about 100 participants, including leaders and officials from ministries, governmental agencies, representatives from more than 20 cities and provinces, socio-political organizations, the UN in Viet Nam, bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as NGOs and the media. The policy dialogue focuses on the current situation of rural women in terms of living conditions, work, employment and social security in Vietnam's process of achieving Sustainable Development Goals and realizing international commitments to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. While raising awareness of such situation among participants, the event also aims to promote the contribution of rural women in Vietnam's social development.


Over the past 30 years, Viet Nam has achieved remarkable economic growth with the significant contribution of agriculture sector. According to the General Statistics Office's 2016 report, although agriculture accounted for only 16.3% of Vietnam's GDP, 41.9% of the labor force engaged in the agricultural production. There are 26.2 million female laborers in Viet Nam, of which 44% are engaged in agriculture. Women constitute a critical workforce in agricultural production, especially in rural areas, where 63.4% of working women are employed in agriculture sector compared to 57.5% of working men. It is undeniable that rural women are contributing significantly to the economic growth and social development of Viet Nam.

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However, rural women in Vietnam are still facing numerous difficulties and challenges. Particularly, the number of women working in informal economic sector remains relatively high, whereas most of them are in rural areas. Rural women often work at low-quality, unstable jobs without sustainability, while having little access to social protection services. Although vocational training for rural women has been prioritized, such trainings are usually short-term and mostly focusing on women's "traditional" skills. As such, women still face various difficulties finding a decent job after the trainings. Moreover, their access to productive resources such as land, technology and financial services is also very restricted. Besides, rural women are severely affected by climate change. However, their participation, contribution and experience in responding to climate change and natural disasters have not been adequately considered in the process of planning and policy making on disaster risk prevention and climate change adaptation.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said, that "Today's discussion is a good opportunity to promote the role and contribution of women and girls in rural areas, to review the successes as well as the challenges in achieving gender equality towards the advancement of women, and to find solutions to enhancing the empowerment of rural women and girls in the coming time."

Speaking at the event, Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator to Viet Nam stated that "The Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to build a future that leaves no one behind. Only if we eliminate structural barriers and discriminations in law and practices to ensure equal opportunities and results for women, can we change the lives of rural women and girls."

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At the policy dialogue today, participants gave recommendations and suggestions on emporwering rural women in Viet Nam, including: (1) requiring both targeted action and mainstreaming gender perspectives into all efforts in national planning, decision making, policy formulation and implementation; (2) promoting enabling environment for rural women and girls and their organizations to fully and actively participate in the decisions, policies and institutions that affect their livelihoods, well-being and resilience; (3) building the resilience of rural women and girls to climate change and environmental degradation, such as deforestation, desertification and loss of agricultural biodiversity by supporting rural women's access to financing, sustainable energy and other technologies, information and social protection; and (4) strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices and other relevant institutions to collect, analyze and disseminate sex- and age-disaggregated data and produce gender statistics to support policies and action for rural women and girls and to monitor and track progress towards the SDGs.

Outcomes of the policy dialogue will contribute to promote policy recommendations and build synergies across gender mainstreaming efforts to empower rural women in Viet Nam. Ultimately, the will contribute towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Discussed issues and recommendations at the policy event will be submitted for Viet Nam's report at the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018.

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Media Contact:

  • Hoang Bich Thao, Communications Officer, The One UN Communications Team, Tel: +84 4 3850 0376 ; Mob: 012 0514 3996, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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