Specific policies should be designed for Vietnamese female guest workers to support them in dealing with risks and difficulties arising while working and when returning home, heard a seminar on April 3.

The seminar was jointly held by the Overseas Workers Management Department of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

Participants pointed out that current legal regulations and policies relating to the issue of working abroad are currently applied for both male and female guest workers.

Risks facing female guest workers varied, from labour exploitation, physical abuse, to sexual harassment and non-payment.

And, when returning home, they have met with difficulties for re-integration and access to public services and employment, participants noted.

Backward social perceptions against women working abroad are other obstacles.

According to Shoko Ishikawa, UN Women Chief Representative in Vietnam, over the past five years, UN Women has coordinated with Vietnamese authorised agencies to implement a project to empower women contracted to work abroad, which aims to increase public awareness of gender equality.

The projects also targets enhanced capacity for officials and managers at Vietnamese enterprises specialising in sending workers abroad, said Ishikawa.

Deputy head of the Overseas Workers Management Department Pham Viet Huong said the department has focused on measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Vietnamese workers, through working closely with the governments of the host countries.

As many as 500,000 Vietnamese labourers are working in over 40 countries and territories around the globe. Women accounted for 35 percent of the 90,000 Vietnamese working abroad a year averagely during the past five years.

Vietnamese women mostly work as maids, nurses, hotel staff, and factory workers in Taiwan (China), the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Cyprus.-VNA