The Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Hoa, on Nov. 3 urged inspectors to enhance the implementation of laws on gender equality.

The minister, speaking at a workshop in Da Nang City, said inspectors in provinces and cities should make regular, annual checks and report the results to the ministry.

"Gender equality and assured women's rights are a goal humans have striven to achieve for many decades," Hoa said.

While the Government was strongly committed to equality, there were still significant shortcomings. For example, he said discriminatory conditions could still be seen in labour recruitment advertisement columns.

Government Decree 55/2009/ND-CP which guides the Gender Equality Law and stipulates fines for violations has been in force for two years, but no cases have been treated.

Participants at the workshop emphasised the importance of the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

"An important point is to raise people's awareness about gender equality," said the ministry's chief inspector, Nguyen Van Tien.

He said the matter required suitable policies and specific programmes at all levels, plus information campaigns.

The workshop was sponsored by the Spanish Agency for International Development Co-operation and Paz y Desarrollo, a Spanish international non-governmental organisation for peace and development.

Paz y Desarrollo kicked off a 2.3-million USD programme to promote gender equality in political participation in Vietnam in May./.