Vietnam is evaluated as the best performer in Southeast Asia in terms of eradicating gender gap over the past 20 years, said Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Ngan, who doubles as Head of the Vietnamese National Committee for the Advancement of Women, delivered the remark at a seminar “Enhancing women’s position in development and international integration” which was held in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Dec. 4.

The minister said Vietnam ’s gender development index (GDI) climbed to 0.732 in 2009, ranking 94 out of the surveyed 155 nations, from 0,537 – the 72 nd among the 130 countries worldwide in 2005.

The number of female National Assembly deputies currently accounts for almost 26 percent, making Vietnam top the list of eight Southeast Asian nations that have parliaments and 4 th in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of female parliamentations, Ngan added.

To enhance women’s position, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director in Vietnam Setsuko Yamazaki suggested Vietnam improve the awareness and political will of women so that they could engage in the leadership.

Vietnam should also encourage localities to bring national gender equality policies into life and build up the capacity for women by organising training courses.

Meanwhile, Cao Tran Quoc Hai, Deputy Director of the Multilateral Economic Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urged the government to complete the legal system and concerned policies, and establish specialised agencies to implement and monitor gender equality.

The seminar, co-hosted by the Vietnamese National Committee for the Advancement of Women, the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP, saw the participation of almost 50 delegates and the ambassadors of Finland, Ireland, Canada and Laos to Vietnam./.