Country Snapshot

Many gender equality efforts are implemented by the Vietnam Women’s Union, a mass organisation for women, that conducts programs aimed at promoting women’s equality with men. A National Plan for the Advancement of Women establishes a target for increasing women’s representation in elected bodies, and the government has also adopted a procedure to monitor legislation to ensure conformity with international treaty law. While the government does not have a Women’s Ministry, it has a National Committee for the Advancement of Women established in 1993 to implement the National Plan of Action developed for the Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing.

The Committee commended the Government for its allocation of resources to eradicate poverty and achieve economic growth with social equity, thus creating an enabling environment for the implementation of the Convention. The Committee also noted the progress achieved and the relatively high ranking of Vietnam in the UNDP human development index and gender development index.

However, there is a marked gap between the extensive de jure protections for women’s equality included in family and labour laws and the reality for women on the ground. Most Vietnamese women are self-employed or work at home. Those who are part of the labour market tend to be concentrated in slow-growth industries with unstable, low wages. Women tend to have fewer professional qualifications than men, and suffer from illiteracy at higher rates. Domestic violence and abuse of women associated with male child preference are widespread. Marital rape is not penalised, and trafficking is reportedly increasing.

The Committee recommended that the State party monitor the implementation of legal provisions that guarantee women de jure equality so as to ensure that they benefit women de facto. It recommended gender-sensitisation and training programmes for law-enforcement, judicial and health personnel and others responsible for the implementation of legislation, so that women's de facto enjoyment of equality will be guaranteed. The Committee also recommended that the Government take urgent and wide-ranging measures, including targeted educational programmes, the revision of curricula and textbooks, and mass media campaigns, to overcome traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in the society. Since there are no national NGOs in Vietnam, programme activities are aimed at strengthening government’s capacity to implement guarantees for women’s equality under CEDAW, including equality guarantees in relation to employment and the need to end trafficking. Approaches such as capacity building for local governmental structures and working with existing women’s equality machineries, including the Vietnam Women’s Union, will be the most likely approaches, alongside the use of popular education.



Workshop on CEDAW for
chief justices and high court officials, 29-31 March 2007, Danang, Vietnam / 15-17 May 2007, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam  

The Supreme Court of Vietnam and UNIFEM co-organised three-day workshops (in Danang and in Ho Chi Minh City) on CEDAW for chief justices and high court officials including vice chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court, members of the Committee for the Advancement of Women in the Supreme Court, directors of all departments and chief justices of all the five specialised courts, chief justice of provincial courts and chief justices of selected district courts.

These workshops aim to increase the awareness and deepen understanding of women’s human rights under CEDAW by the judiciary, for application of substantive equality and state obligation principle of CEDAW in court decision and issuances.

Participating in the workshop in the central port city of Danang were 150 High Court officials, including all provincial chief justices, key judges and chief justices of national specialised courts. Participants learnt about the CEDAW Convention and its Protocol, as well as Vietnam’s new law on gender equality which will be promulgated in July 2007. In addition, a Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women in the national court system for 2007-2010 was launched at the Danang workshop. A similar workshop for high court officials was held in Ho Chi Minh City during 15-17 May.

These training contributed to efforts to creating a nationwide network of women's human rights chief justices/judges who will play the leading role on protection of women's human rights and promotion of gender equality in Vietnam. This is in response to rising demand for a judiciary that is not only independent, fair and just, but also one that does not discriminate on account of gender.


Debriefing Workshop on  NGO’s report regarding CEDAW implementation in Vietnam

5 February  2007

For the first time in Vietnam, an NGO’s report on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have been compiled and publicized by the Gender and Community Development Network (GenComNet) with financial assistance from UNIFEM, the Embassy of Switzerland and Action Aid Vietnam. On 5 February  2007, GenComnet in collaboration with UNIFEM is organizing the workshop to debrief on the NGO reporting process as well as the feedback on the report to the public at the meeting Hall E, Number 10, Chu Vn An Street.


Press Conference on Vietnam CEDAW reporting to the committee

17 January 2007 New York

Following the high-level dialogue between the Government of Vietnam and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in New York on 17 January 2007. The press conference which was held by the National Committee for the Advancement of Women (NCFAW) and UNIFEM CEDAW SEAP was held on 26 January 2007 with high-level representatives, including Ms. Ha Thi Khiet, President of the NCFAW and the Vietnam Women's Union, Mr. Nguyen Phu Binh, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Tran Thi Mai Huong, Permanent Vice-President of the NCFAW. Others are from various government ministries and organisations through their system of CFAWs (sectoral committees for the advancement of women), the National Assembly, mass organisations, NGOs, along with UN agencies working in Vietnam, international NGOs, donors and the national media to hear about achievements, lessons learned and challenges raised in the intensive discussion in New York on CEDAW implementation in Vietnam through the government’s combined fifth and sixth periodic report. The role of local NGOs and their alternative report to CEDAW implementation in Vietnam were also highlighted and appreciated.



First Ever Vietnam Shadow report to CEDAW is underway, 9 September 2006

To further facilitate the presenting of a thoroughly reflective and comprehensive report to the CEDAW Committee, the vietnam shadow report to CEDAW is underway in Vietnam.   It will focus on six current issues pertaining to Vietnamese women that NGO’s should be responsible for reporting transparently and accurately on in the Shadow Report. Each subject will be researched and written about by a sub-group of organisations led and supervised by an elected leading organisation. Additional activities will be organised such as coordination workshops, training on report methodology, consultancy and advocacy workshops to assist in the effective dissemination of this report.

The activity is expected to conclude by the first quarter of 2007, just in time for the preparation of presenting before the CEDAW conference in New York in 2007.


International Women’s Day 2005 Panel Discussion “Role of Vietnamese Women for the 21st Century”
 8 March  2005 Hanoi,

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, UN and UNIFEM in Vietnam organized a panel discussion on transforming the roles of the Vietnamese women for the XXI century. This panel discussion aimed to open up public discussion on the new roles of Vietnamese women in the XXI century. The Discussion highlighted the contributions of the Vietnamese women during the 20th century, and raised issues for discussion about transforming the traditional roles of Vietnamese Women in the 21st century. Around 70 participants from different fields: business, art, journalism, science, education and social development came together for the Discussion among them were also high rank UN staff. Madame Ha Thi Khiet, President of the Women's Union and Chairperson of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women opened the Forum. Mr. Jordan Ryan, UN Resident Representative to Vietnam also attended the forum.