Vietnam’s commitment to Gender Equality - By Georgia Lambert

From war to religion, Vietnam’s culture and history has been shaped by women. Yet, most women in Vietnam, especially those from rural and ethnic minority regions, have been excluded from prosperous economic opportunities. Many Vietnamese women are forced away from their families, to look for work and live (often in boarding houses) in Hanoi due to financial need.

Over the last decade, Vietnam has committed to narrowing the economy’s gender gap by implementing a national strategy to promote Gender Equality. During the years of implementation, Vietnam has proudly made progress on supporting gender equality in many socioeconomic fields.

However, due to the impact of the global economy, the Coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and the climate crisis, the country faces new challenges to overcome on their path of establishing gender equality. The challenges of poor infrastructure, lack of social services, shortage of jobs, inappropriate distribution of workload, poor education and the burden of archaic traditions affect 80% of women, predominantly from rural backgrounds.

Better Life Vietnam (BLV) is an organisation that is committed to helping the country achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality and Female Empowerment. Throughout the summer of 2020, the team at BLV created a vocational training course, designed for female students from ethnic and rural

backgrounds. One of their project activities was a 12-day course on the art-form, Quilling. The students learnt how to quill handmade artwork and how to make money from this type of venture. At the end of the course the students were offered part-time jobs to work for BLV’s partner, Coeurs De Papier, this helped the students finance their studies.

Better Life Vietnam’s vocational training courses have helped many women become financially independent and the organisation hopes that future efforts make gender equality in the world of work a reality.