Female National Assembly deputies pose for a photo (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Communication plays an important role in improving awareness and the practice of gender equality, and in promoting support for women’s stronger political participation, said head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation Truong Thi Mai.

Data shows that Vietnam has made strides in increasing women’s presence in people-elected agencies, from 3 percent at the first National Assembly (NA) to 24.4 percent at the 13th NA (from 2011 to 2016).

In the 2011 – 2016 tenure, females accounted for 25.17 percent of the deputies at province-level People’s Committees, 24.62 percent at the district-level People’s Committees, and 21.71 percent at the commune-level People’s Committees.

Mai said increasing women’s participation in people-elected bodies will help realise substantive gender equality and ensure their engagement in deciding policies, especially those pertaining to women, children, gender equality, human rights protection, culture, education and other social issues.

It is a global fact that to have a decisive voice, women must hold at least 30 percent of the seats in the State apparatus, she noted.

Meanwhile, their modest participation in people-elected agencies is attributable to a lack of gender awareness and other objective factors in society.

As communication could raise public awareness, it should be focused on the Party and State guidelines and policies on boosting women’s involvement in leadership and management activities, and the Law on the election of NA and People’s Council deputies which stipulates that at least 35 percent of official candidates for positions in the NA and People’s Councils must be women.

The role of and major contributions by women to national development also need to be popularised, the Party official added.

Sharing the same view, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta said one of the reasons for women’s limited political participation is that some potential female candidates are not well known among the public.

A 2015 study in Vietnam shows that only 22 percent of news on newspapers, televisions and radios are about women and their matters. The rate was just 18 percent on websites.

Communication can be a significant player in highlighting the image of female leaders and creating positive changes. Media outlets should bring out women’s contributions to common issues and ensure equal coverage of both genders during elections, Pratibha Mehta said.-VNA