The month was observed for the first time in Vietnam from November 15 to December 15 under the theme “Joining Hands to End Violence against Women and Girls.” The event was organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the leading agency in addressing violence on women in the country, in collaboration with the United Nations in Vietnam and other development partners.
Addressing the launching, MoLISA Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam stressed that the issues of gender equality and women's liberation hold great importance to the construction of the revolutionary path.
The improvement of policies and laws of the State along with efforts of authorities at all levels and women themselves have brought about great achievements in gender equality in Vietnam, Dam said, adding that the achievements in implementing gender equality has contributed greatly to the successful implementation of social welfare policies that have gained the international community’s recognition.
Deputy Minister Dam affirmed that this is the first time Vietnam has carried out the national action month on gender equality and prevention of gender-based violence to raise awareness and call for action to end gender inequality towards a sustainable society.
A healthy country with no poverty, justice and where "no one is left behind" is the aspiration of every human being, he said, stressing that gender equality is the key to ending violence against women and girls.
To solve inequality, policies and programmes, especially in the media, need to change outdated perceptions on the value and role of women, thus pushing back gender-based violence, especially violence against women and girls. Women need to improve their role and assertiveness to participate more actively in all fields of social life, he affirmed.
A performance at the launching.
Astrid Bant, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Vietnam, praised efforts made by the Government of Vietnam in approving a National Action Programme on Gender Equality for the 2016-2020 period in October 2015 and assigning the MoLISA as the leading agency to carry out the Annual Action Month on Promoting Gender Equality and Preventing Violence against Women and Girls from November 15 to December 15 annually. This once again confirms the strong commitments and efforts of Vietnam to address the important issue, she said.
The national action month launched today will not be effective without the active involvement of men and boys in Vietnam, the UN official said, suggesting that all males must stand up to address inequalities, injustices and violence against girls and women. Ending violence against women should be a priority of every citizen, she added.
According to reports, violence against women and girls undermines family stability and solidarity and is one of the gravest violations of human rights.
In Vietnam, the National Study on Domestic Violence against Women, released by the General Statistics Office and the UN in 2010, showed that 58% of married women had experienced at least one form of violence (physical, mental or sexual) at some point in their lives. Approximately 50% of victims did not tell anyone about the violence they endured, and 87% did not seek help from public services.
Violence against women and girls not only has serious impacts on the physical and spiritual well-being of victims, but it also has enormous socio-economic costs. A recent UN study showed that the cost of gender-based violence against women in Vietnam, in out of pocket expenditures and lost earnings represented nearly 1.5% of national GDP in 2012. The social costs, however, are even greater as violence against women significantly reduces social cohesion and community resilience.
The campaign consists of a series of activities organised over one month, including policy dialogues with young people, workshops, a football festival day, concerts, events to break gender stereotypes, bus journeys, a "No more" week – Action to end sexual violence, and training for bus drivers to provide them with knowledge and skills on gender equality.