Commitments made to enhance the lives of Vietnamese women under CEDAW

Date: Friday, July 10, 2015

Author(s): Leika Aruga and Thao Hoang

Geneva – Viet Nam’s efforts and commitment to strengthen its legislative framework on gender equality and women’s rights were highly recognised during the 61st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (the Committee) in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee is a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

During the session, Vietnamese delegation led by Mr. Doan Mau Diep, Vice Minister of Ministry of Labour-Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and a number of civil society groups reported Viet Nam’s progress in implementing CEDAW and promoting women’s rights. The Committee assessed the situation of women in Viet Nam based on the government’s reports and information shared by non-government organisations among others.

Vietnamese government delegation at the 61st session of the CEDAW Committee. Photo: UN Women/Leika Aruga

The Committee commended Viet Nam for the efforts made to strengthen its legislative framework since the last review in 2007. Other recognised achievements are the adoption of the National Programme on Gender Equality and establishment of the Gender Equality Department under MOLISA which leads the coordination for promoting gender equality across the country.

Beside achievements, the Committee expressed concern over gaps that remain such as the different retirement age for women and men and the high prevalence of violence against women. The Committee particularly urged Viet Nam to address patriarchy entrenched in the society which is hindering the realisation of gender equality. The Head of Mission, Mr. Doan Mau Diep expressed his appreciation to the Committee for the valuable comments. “Viet Nam will thoroughly reflect the Committee’s recommendations and develop a follow up action plan to implement the Concluding Observations of the Committee,” he added.

UN Women with Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada supported three civil society networks with their participation in the 61st session of the CEDAW Committee. Photo: UN Women/Leika Aruga

Ms. Ngo Thi Thu Ha, one of the senior representatives from the civil society networks of Viet Nam who participated in the session claimed, "The review session was important as it gave political support for the civil society organisations working on women’s human rights in Viet Nam. With support from UN Women and other stakeholders, we believe that Viet Nam will gain more achievements in implementing international conventions on women’s rights and gender equality in the next review session."

Three civil society networks, Gender and Community Development Network, Domestic Violence Prevention Network and the Network for Empowerment of Women, consisting of 21 organisations engaged in a one year process to collected data and prepare a Shadow Report reflecting the situation of Vietnamese women at the grassroots level as well as women’s needs and priorities. UN Women supported this process with financial assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality grantee International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia-Pacific (IWRAW AP).