HA NOI — There are still only few women in top leadership positions at Viet Nam's important governmental organisations, Dr Nguyen Song Ha, a researcher at Viet Nam's Women Union, has said
Although the country has encouraged women's participation in leadership as a way to promote gender equality, the number of women in leadership positions in central institutions, including the National Assembly and ministries, has yet to reflect that priority.
According to a survey by the union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Co-operation (AECID), there are currently five female ministers, accounting for 8 per cent of the total number.
The percentage of female deputy ministers and women of equal rank is 7.8. Within ministries, women occupy 8.6 and 22.5 per cent of the departmental head and vice head positions respectively.
At lower levels, women fill over 30-40 per cent of the leadership positions.
Ha said that office leaders played a decisive role in women's careers and promotions, but they had not yet paid proper attention to their female employees and did not translate verbal encouragement into supportive policies.
Traditional norms about women's role in the family affected their performance at work, she said, adding that the women themselves were lacking confidence and hesitant to aim for higher positions.
Union researcher Nguyen Thi Minh said that gender was not a factor in policies, hindering women from accessing higher positions.
For example, both men and women are required to have at least five years of work experience and to be under 40 years old in order to be selected for higher education. These requirements pose more of a challenge to women, who often devote their early years of adulthood to child-rearing.
Women over the age of 46 lose the chance to become a promising candidate for future leadership positions.
Director of the Centre for Education Promotion and Empowerment for Women Vuong Thi Hanh said that supportive policies were needed to boost women's participation in leadership, including capacity building programmes and housing or improved services at pre-schools for their children.
The US$460,000 project was implemented in the provinces of Quang Binh, Phu Tho, Kon Tum, Kien Giang, Binh Phuoc and Hai Phong over the last three years. It reviewed current legal policies for women, offering recommendations and training courses to improve women's leadership capacities.— VNS