Building Vietnamese women meeting requirements of sustainable development and international integration
Communist review - With the traditional qualities of “Heroic - Unyielding - Loyal - Resourceful”, Vietnamese women have made substantial and worthy contributions to the national construction and defense cause. Following their preceding generations, modern-day Vietnamese women continue to promote their exceptional qualities, revive the spirit of solidarity, activeness, creativity, and actively contribute to sustainable national growth and global integration.
1- In Viet Nam, women make up 50.2% of the national population, 46.5% of the social workforce(1), 46% of the research and development contingent, and over 40% of scientists(2). They are affirming their potential, vital roles and positions in the family and society. The proportion of women participating in leadership and management have been on the increase. The figure for female party committee members at all levels have risen, compared to that of the previous tenure. The percentage of female National Assembly delegates have grown to above 30%, higher than the global and regional averages, ranking first in the Inter-Parliamentary Union of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The percentage of female key leaders in ministerial-level agencies have reached 50%. The female human resource for scientific research has climbed significantly(3). It can be concluded that Vietnamese females are present in all fields and areas, actively engaging in social life activities, well implementing the guidelines of the Party and State policies and laws, proactively responding to patriotic emulation movements and achieving numerous excellent results in all respects such as politics, economy, culture, society, security, defense, as well as foreign affairs... Simultaneously, women are a particularly important factor in building happy families; preserving and developing national cultural identity; contributing to maintaining political security, social order and safety, and consolidating the role, status and prestige of Viet Nam in the international arena.
Directive No. 21-CT/TW, dated January 20, 2018, of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV), “On continuing to step up women affairs in the new situation” has identified the key objective: Building well-rounded Vietnamese women fulfilling the demands of the new era in order to actualize the goal of building full-fledged Vietnamese people specified by the 13th Party Congress: Developing Vietnamese people comprehensively must become one of the objectives in the development strategy. At the same time, the Congress has emphasized: “Maximizing the human element, considering people as the center, the subject, the most valuable resource and the goal of development; taking Vietnamese cultural values and people as the foundation, important endogenous strength to ensure sustainable development”(4); “remedying the shortcomings of Vietnamese people step by step; building present-day Vietnamese people in close and harmonious association with traditional and modern values”(5).
The document of the 13th National Congress of the CPV also affirms: “Promoting the tradition, potential, strength and mindset of self-mastery, the desire to rise up of women of all classes. Building new-age Vietnamese women. Raising the quality of female human resources to match the requirements of sustainable growth and international integration”(6). Building Vietnamese women accommodating the demands of sustainable development and international integration. These are the contents that have been ratified in the Development Strategy of the Viet Nam Women’s Union to 2030, with a vision to 2035 and in the Resolution of the 13th National Women’s Congress.
As a socio-political organization operating for women’s development and gender equality, the Viet Nam Women’s Union has, so far, initiated multiple emulation movements and campaigns such as “Women studying actively, working creatively, building happy families”, “Building 5-no and 3-clean families”, “Cultivating moral virtues: self-confidence, self-respect, loyalty, resourcefulness”; at the same time, has performed principal tasks to support women in enhancing their qualities and foster their awareness and improve their capabilities and skills, contributing to stimulating women’s comprehensive development(7). These days, Vietnamese women are progressively aware of their rights and obligations, thereby proactively exercising their citizenship rights, engaging in building the Party, the State and the union has become stronger and stronger. In the 2017 – 2022 stage, millions of women and people nationwide participated in voting in the National Assembly and People’s Council elections at all levels(8); activities and emulation movements of the union at all levels also achieved remarkable results in all aspects(9) throughout the country.
In addition to conducting activities to enhance women’s knowledge, abilities and prowess towards their comprehensive development, the Viet Nam Women’s Union also stimulates foreign affair activities, increases bilateral and multilateral cooperation to assist Vietnamese women abroad and contribute to further international integration. Seizing the opportunities and recognizing the challenges emerging from the rapid and ceaseless changes in the international and regional situation, the Union promptly formulated and issued Resolution No. 18-NQ/BCH, dated 8 1-2021, on “Supporting women in the integration period until 2030”, and proposed specific measures to enable women to be more active and proactive in global integration.
By innovating contents and modes of operation, the union at all levels have undertaken a number of activities to spread dissemination, to mobilize and aid women to develop comprehensively and gradually integrate into the world. Many examples of women who strive to obtain excellent achievements in various fields of social life are praised and honored with noble awards and titles, which has affirmed the role and great contribution of women in society, as well as has inspired and encouraged women to continuously perfect Vietnamese women’s qualities in the period of industrialization, modernization and intensive international integration.
2- In the upcoming time, a great number of opportunities and challenges arising from the global and domestic situation will have a great bearing on women’s life and development. Globalization and international integration progress incessantly; digital technology develops robustly; the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women remain the primary concern amid national and international efforts to realize the sustainable development goals. At home, socio-economic achievements after over 35 years of implementing Doi Moi keep serving as a springboard for enhancing the national stature and prestige in the international arena; The spirit of national solidarity and aspiration for power, prosperity and happiness are strongly aroused. Viet Nam has actively and proactively integrated into the world, has strengthened and heightened the level of multilateral diplomacy. The engagement in new-generation free trade agreements has created favorable opportunities for Viet Nam to participate in the international economy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will provide more employment with higher incomes for workers, including female ones. The socialist-oriented market economy and the deep international integration process have unlocked creative potential, improved women’s material and spiritual lives, and contributing to economic growth. The trend towards democratizing all activities of social life has gained traction; direct democracy and representative democracy are being expanded, driving women to raise their intellectual level, political awareness, and civic responsibility. The guidelines of the Party, policies and laws of the State are all aimed at creating optimal conditions for the development of women, contributing to the cause of constructing and safeguarding the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland under new circumstances.
However, there are plenty of social issues that adversely affect women that need to be further identified and promptly addressed, such as poverty, climate change, changes in family functions; domestic violence, drug abuse, prostitution, HIV/AIDS infection, sophisticated serious child and woman abuse and violence cases; the rise in new types of crime and high-tech crime posing threats to their safety, especially in the countries afflicted with unprecedented hardships and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis; rapid industrialization and urbanization; severe and complicated climate change; the aging population trend; existing gender inequality. That context will exert pronounced impacts on all facets of women’s life and comprehensive development.
In order to attain the national development goals in the coming time, it is necessary to build up the strength of the great national unity bloc, to unleash the potential of all genders and classes, including women. For the 2022 – 2027 tenure, the Viet Nam Women’s Union has launched the emulation movement titled “Building Vietnamese women in the new era” to assist and mobilize cadres, union members, and women to strive and proactively cultivate the qualities shaping core values: Knowledgeable, moral, healthy, responsible for oneself and towards one’s family, society and country, with the purpose of intensifying efforts to rise up, the desire to dedicate talents, brainpower and efforts of the Vietnamese women’s forces, making a worthy contribution to rapid and sustainable national construction, protection and development. In the meantime, all levels of the union need to concentrate on implementing well the fundamental tasks and solutions to strongly and drastically aid women in satisfying the requirements of sustainable development, proactively integrating deeply into the international community, specifically as follows:
Firstly, providing education about traditional values and ethical virtues for cadres, union members and women to arouse and uphold the tradition of patriotism, national pride and self-respect, the will to rise up and the aspiration towards defending, constructing and developing a powerful nation; mobilizing women to practice moral qualities of “self-confidence, self-respect, loyalty, resourcefulness” and engaging in the emulation movement “Building Vietnamese women in the new era”.
Secondly, spurring women of all social classes to proactively study, raise their capacity in all aspects, to meet the requirements of socio-economic growth in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and global integration. Developing and conducting the program to assist one million women to improve their ability in applying information technology and accessing digital government. Through learning and talent encouragement activities to build a learning society, urging the adoption of reading habits in the community, helping women widen their knowledge and skills in all facets; placing a heavy emphasis on improving knowledge and skills in information technology and foreign languages; encouraging research and the application of modern scientific and technological achievements.
Thirdly, educating women on aesthetics, life skills, physical training, and improving spiritual life; aiding women in healthcare. Incorporating the content on aesthetics and life skills for women in activities at all levels of the union; continuously mobilizing women to maintain the movement “Each woman choosing an appropriate form of culture - art, physical training - mass sport events to enhance their well-being”; spurring women to participate in health insurance, social insurance and helping women to access sound and appropriate healthcare services.
Fourthly, maximizing the potential and creativity of women, especially female leaders, female managers, female intellectuals, female writers, female artists, businesswomen, and talented women in various fields. Organizing forums and consultation activities to attract the participation of women from all walks of life, especially groups of female leaders, entrepreneurs, experts and artisans in improving the quality and effectiveness of their union activities and women’s movements; organizing activities to spot, laud and honor gifted women in all fields, helping spread the fine examples of Vietnamese women more and more widely in society.
Fifthly, aiding specific groups of women who reside in ethnic minority communities, in mountainous, border and island areas. Researching and proposing welfare policies, programs and projects to support disabled, elderly women and female migrant workers; instructing, helping and creating conditions for women with disabilities to access and participate in movements, campaigns, projects, programs and union activities and social services. Continuously carrying out the program “Accompanying border women”; implementing the project “practicing gender equality and solving urgent problems for women and children” for the 2021-2025 period, contributing to the effective implementation of the National Target Program “Developing the economy and society in ethnic minority and mountainous regions in the period of 2021 – 2030”.
Sixthly, proactively and actively assisting women in international integration towards bringing into play the strengths of female groups and the union; connecting to and mobilizing Vietnamese women abroad to preserve Vietnamese and cultural identity, fostering the sense of national pride and self-respect, respect for their roots, homeland and country; guiding all levels of the union to bring into play the strengths of Vietnamese female groups at home and abroad, contributing to preserving Vietnamese cultural identity, absorbing the cultural quintessence of humanity; strengthening the promotion of culture and image of the country and Vietnamese women and the union; establishing trade links, mobilizing female entrepreneurs and intellectuals to donate resources to organize activities for women and realize gender equality.
With the view “the regular task being to promote and inherit the fine traditions of Vietnamese women, strongly arouse their potential, creativity, self-reliance, self-reliance, solidarity, and simultaneously, take care of women and protect their legitimate rights and interests, accompany women in solving intimate problems; considering women’s happiness and interests as the objective”, in the coming period, the Viet Nam Women’s Union will constantly strengthen the pivotal role of politics in women’s work, contributing to building the image of Vietnamese women in the new age, in which values and qualities are inherited, upheld, and nurtured in congruence with national traditional morals and the requirements of the era.
In fact, building Vietnamese women in the new age is a prolonged process that needs to be completed with a host of synchronous and appropriate solutions. First of all, women must be self-conscious to learn, actively rise up, and cultivate their cultural and intellectual capital. During his lifetime, President Ho Chi Minh once said that women’s progress depends on numerous factors; In addition to the attention of the Party and Government, a decisive factor is that each and every woman must make efforts to rise up and assert themselves. Reality has also proved that learning is key to women opening the door to integrate into society and reach out to the world. Besides, it is crucial to raise awareness of the whole society about gender equality and the role of women in development; continuing to perfect the system of policies and laws on gender equality, women, family and children; promoting the role of socio-political organizations, especially the Viet Nam Women’s Union - the organization representing and protecting women’s rights and legitimate interests, carrying out the mission of building Vietnamese women in the new era, contributing to sustainable national growth and deeper international integration./.
(1) Read: “Press release on employment situation in the fourth quarter of 2021 and Viet Nam’s human development index between 2016 and 2020”, January 6, 2022, https://www.gso.gov .vn/du-lieu-va-so-lieu-thong-ke/2022/01/thong-cao-bao-chi-tinh-hinh-lao-dong-viec-lam-quy-iv-nam-2021-va -chi-so-phat-trien-con-human-vietnam-nam-2016-2020
(2) Central Viet Nam Women’s Union: Ministerial-level research topic: Raising the creative potential of women farmers in Viet Nam, 2021
(3) Read: “Speech by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the 13th National Women’s Congress”, March 11, 2022, https://baochinhphu.vn/phat-bieu-cua-thu -tuong-pham-minh-chinh-tai-dai-hoi-dai-bieu-phu-nu-toan-quoc-lan-thu-xiii-102220311104849752.htm
(4), (5), (6) Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, National Politics Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, t. I, p. 215 - 216, 143, 169
(7) By the end of the term, more than 19,000 excellent individuals and collectives will have been disseminated and praised in studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality, and style and cultivating the moral qualities of Vietnamese women “Confidence - Self-respect - Loyalty – Resourcefulness”.
(8) According to results of the 15th National Assembly election of the 2021 – 2026 tenure, female delegates took up 30.26% (3.54% higher than the previous tenure and exceeding the target by 30%); the figure for the People’s Councils reached 29% at provincial level, 29.2% at district level, 28.98% at communal level; the proportion of female delegates to the 15th National Assembly was over 30% in 35 provinces and cities.
(9) All levels of the union have provided consultation about organizing 700 dialogues with party committees and authorities at all levels to propose more than 600 policies; supervised nearly 6 thousand policies; supplemented and critiqued 33,000 draft documents socially. The union has supported nearly 13 million female member’s families to meet the family criteria “5 noes, 3 cleans”. Nearly 12,000 collective economic models managed by women have been established by the union. It has also facilitated the establishment of nearly 800 new cooperatives, has allocated nearly 164 trillion VND to assist nearly 73 thousand women to start up. 87,000 women-owned enterprises, cooperatives and business households have been trained to improve their e-commerce competence. Nearly 482 billion VND have been donated to assist officials, members, women and people severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 255 communes have received aid from the program “Accompanying border women” with a total of nearly 210 billion VND (from 2018 to present). Over 118 thousand models to mobilize and help women participate in solving a number of social issues have been built and replicated. More than 25 million members, women and parents with children under 16 years of age have been provided with information and knowledge about preserving and practicing ethical virtues, the sense of law observance, parenting education, and food safety and gender-based violence prevention and control. Launched by the union in November 2021, the “Godmother” program taking care of orphans has mobilized, connected with, aided and patronized 11,052 orphans in difficult circumstances including more than 2,000 orphans due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the total amount of money and the value of in-kind gifts mobilized through channels across the country have reached over 43 billion dong.
This article was published in the Communist Review No. 1000 (October 2022)