Members of a family take part in an activity marking the Vietnam Family Day in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has made progress on its gender equality targets. The revised Constitution adopted in 2013 and the 2006 Gender Equality Law explicitly prohibit gender-based discrimination, and the policy and legal framework to promote gender equality and empower women and girls is now stronger.

However, discriminatory laws, policies and practices are still prevalent.

In a statement sent to Vietnam News, the English language daily of the Vietnam News Agency last week, UN Women said 58 percent of women experienced at least one type of violence at some point in their lives.

Further, the frequency, mostly of domestic violence, was estimated to cost 3.2 percent of Vietnam’s GDP by calculating the total productivity losses and potential opportunity costs. At the same time, women who experience domestic violence earn 35 percent less, on average, than women who experience no violence.

Conviction rates of violent offenders against women are extremely low. While 43 percent of violent crimes come to the attention of police, only 12 percent of reported cases result in criminal charges, and only 1 percent of reported cases lead to convictions.

The overuse of reconciliation measures limit women’s capacities to seek formal protection, redress or justice, leaving survivors exposed to repeated violence during their lifetimes.

Beyond violence that includes domestic violence, there are gaps in evidence, policies, laws and awareness about other forms of violence against women, such as dating violence, cyber violence and violence in public spaces.

Women continue to face discrimination in both public and private spheres, ranging from women’s low political representation, unequal access to educational and economic opportunities, violence and lack of access to justice.

The root cause of gender-based discrimination is the prevailing patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes that privilege men over women. These negative social norms held by law and policy makers, media, and the general public continue to accept discrimination against women and girls. It remains common for violence survivors to be blamed for causing their partners to be violent.-VNA