Vietnam's National Assembly has just elected its first ever chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. (Photo: VNA)

Ninh Binh (VNA) –
As the country’s National Assembly (NA) election day, scheduled for May 22, approaches, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is promoting stronger political participation by women.

Speaking at a seminar held in Ninh Binh City on April 11, the ministry’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam said increasing women’s participation in people-elected bodies would help realise substantive gender equality and ensure their engagement in deciding policies, especially those pertaining to women, children, gender equality and human rights protection, as well as culture, education and other social issues.

“Women account for half the country’s population. That’s why we need more women to participate in the decision-making process and to represent voters. Under international experience and study, it has been found that to have a decisive voice, women must hold at least 30 percent of the seats in the State apparatus,” Dam said.

He said Vietnam had made strides in increasing women’s presence in people-elected agencies, from 3 percent at the first NA to 24.4 percent at the 13th NA (from 2011 to 2016).

In the 2011-2016 period, women accounted for 25.17 percent of the deputies in People’s Committees at the provincial level, 24.62 percent at the district level and 21.71 percent at the commune level.

However, this number has not been stable throughout the years.

One of the reasons for this instability is the awareness of leaders in each period, former vice president of NA’s Office Nguyen Si Dung said.

“If a leader is well aware of the importance of women’s participation in political issues, that will drive him or her to promote it properly; otherwise, the rate might fall,” Dung said.

It is hoped this issue will be addressed by the new Law on the Election of NA and People’s Council deputies, which stipulates that at least 35 percent of official candidates for positions in these councils must be women.

“This will increase opportunities for the country to attain prosperity. Half of Vietnam’s population are women. If they can be given the same chances as men, 100 percent of the population will be able to contribute. That’s much better than only 50 percent,” Dung said.

Dung added that while women faced certain disadvantages compared to men when participating in politics, it was very important for them to be involved in the process.-VNA