United Nations Launches Viet Nam Gender Briefing Kit


Jordan D. Ryan, United Nations Resident Coordinator launched the updated United Nations Gender Briefing Kit at a roundtable meeting on Tuesday 22 October 2002. A competition on gender equality was also announced as part of the Millennium campaign to promote understanding on the Millennium Development Goals in Viet Nam.

What the kit is
The Gender Briefing Kit is a resource that offers a timely snapshot of key gender issues and concerns in Vietnam as viewed by the United Nations Country Team in Viet Nam. It presents recent findings on progress made for both women and men in areas such as enrolment in primary education, health, and poverty reduction. It also highlights the main areas for attention and action in the quest for gender equality. The kit has been specifically designed to be used as a daily resource tool, and includes sections such as gender-based violence, agriculture, labour and economic activities. As a resource it also contains up to date information on the National Strategy and Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women, and a directory of national, international, and NGO organisations that have initiatives or are actively working towards gender equality. Sections of the Gender Briefing Kit are also useful as quick and concise briefing notes for leaders, visiting delegates, or teams designing or reviewing projects.

Who is the kit for?
The Kit is designed to be used by everyone. An important message emphasised by Mr Ryan was that gender equality cannot be achieved by one group or by a few people acting alone. It can only be achieved where there is strong leadership and broad commitment and action by all of government and development partners, at all levels, and in all sectors. Redressing inequality is a responsibility to be shared by all. Everyone involved in the design, implementation, review, monitoring and evaluation of policies, projects, programs, budgets are responsible to ensure that the experiences, needs, and priorities of women and men, are understood and addressed in all aspects of their work. Importantly, they all are responsible to ensure that action is taken to redress gender inequalities.

Highlights of Roundtable Discussion
Mr Ryan was joined at a roundtable discussion by a number of prominent national representatives from different agencies, including Ms Pham Chi Lan, Executive Vice President of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Tran Thi Mai Huong, Permanent Secretary of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women, Ms Nguyen Bich Ha, Director of the Center for Women's Studies, and Mr Vu Manh Loi, researcher at the Institute of Sociology. In a lively debate the issue of what needs to be done to assist ministries to understand their responsibilities in relation to gender inequality issues was discussed. Ms Tran Mai Huong noted that "Viet Nam is in a transition to mainstreaming gender in all sectors, and in the entire development process of the country". She said that "the challenge was helping and assisting ministries to understand that 'gender' does not mean 'women', and that efforts towards gender equality are not only the job of organisations such as the VWU, the women's branch of the Trade Unions, NCFAW and CFAWs". Ms Mai Huong said, "the Gender Briefing Kit will assist in promoting an understanding of how and why gender is relevant and important to the work of all ministries".

How to get the kit?
Mr Ryan encouraged all people involved in Viet Nam's development process to obtain and take advantage of the important information contained in the Gender Briefing Kit. The kit is available in hard copy at UNDP Office 25-29 Phan Boi Chau, and can also be accessed electronically at un.org.vn