A senior financial expert from the World Bank (WB) has praised Vietnam for its progress in ensuring gender equality and said that the country should improve its gender statistics capacity to better manage the implementation of the Law on Gender Equality.

During a seminar on Nov. 18, Daniel Mont said that in Vietnam, data relating to genders and gender equality is available in almost every field, particularly in education and healthcare.

However, he said that others had insufficient data, especially those related to violence against women, unsalaried employment, migrants and individual property.

This makes it difficult for the government, ministries, agencies and organisations to put together policies on the issue, he said.

According to him, surveys to collect more information on gender and gender equality, graphs and tables of the available data would be useful for controlling and appraising the effectiveness of the country’s laws, policies and commitments on gender equality.

Pham Nguyen Cuong, Vice Head of the Gender Equality Department under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), said that the research on gender statistics conducted by the WB and MOLISA had collected data on various fields including education, health care, labour and employment, households, poverty and social lives. The research then indicated the challenges and proposals needed for each field to improve the country’s capacity to compile gender statistics, she said.

According to MOLISA, in the past the Vietnamese government had tried to address gender equality issues by issuing policies and putting into action solutions to ensure gender equality from central to grassroots levels.

Vietnam ratified the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the United Nations’ 2000 Millennium Declaration as it is determined to reach its Millennium Development Goals, which include promoting gender equality and women’s rights.

The country’s National Assembly ratified the Law on Gender Equality in 2006.

In Vietnam, women now make up 51 percent of the total population and 49 percent of the workforce. In parallel with rapid economic development and successes in poverty reduction, life for women has improved remarkably over the past decades. The gap between men and women has been narrowed in various fields and the amount of women in the National Assembly for the 2007-2012 term represents 25.8 percent of the total, the highest rate amongst ASEAN countries.

However, gender inequality is still prevalent in rural and mountainous areas, where a woman’s average income is only equal to 83 percent of a man’s. Domestic and other forms of violence against women still exist and a woman’s right to make her own decisions is limited./.