HA NOI — Only 46.9 per cent of rural women have full-time employment while the remainder do casual jobs, such as housework and farming, Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs director Nguyen Thi Lan Huong said yesterday.
Huong was speaking at a meeting in Ha Noi, held in response to the 56th Commission on the Status of Women – "The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication".
Women in rural areas did not have stable jobs because they had not received vocational training. As many as 92 per cent of them did not have any skills at all and only 1.4 per cent had graduated from university, said Huong.
The average wage of a female rural labour was VND1.9 million (US$90) per month, which was only 72.7 per cent of the average wage of female urban labourers.
About 10 per cent of them had an average income of VND350,000 (US$16.60) per month.
"Because of their hard lives, rural women, especially the poor, often had to encounter risks, illness and disease," Huong said.
The most of rural women were overworked as they had to shoulder both production and reproduction at the same time.
The consequences were that not only their health failed, but it also influenced their pregnancy and maternal functions, which affected the next generation.
"Women also struck several obstacles to accessing social security benefits," Huong said.
The barriers were their constraints in awareness and knowledge, gender inequality among rural people, inferiority complexes – more noticeable among the poor and disabled women – and a slowness to adapt to social change.
To improve social security for rural women, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs would pilot an employment market information system at commune level through the internet, commune cultural houses and central and local radio and television programmes, including those broadcast in ethnic minority languages, said Huong.
It would also organise temporary employment programmes for unemployed or under-employed women in rural areas and focus on health care for children and pregnant women, especially ethnic minorities and those in remote areas.
Support policies for the 2011-15 period would also be introduced, and cover part of voluntary insurance premiums for poor women, she said.
Meanwhile, United Nations resident co-ordinator Pratibha Mehta said improving rural women's lives was a key priority of the UN country team in Viet Nam.
"Our efforts include working with the Viet Nam Women's Union to empower women to cope with natural disasters and increase the role of women in disaster risk reduction and management," she said.
Over the next five years, the UN would invest around $40 million in gender equality and women's empowerment programmes, double what it spent from 2006-11, Pratibha said. — VNS