Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Awareness of and compliance with the Law on Gender Equality (2007) is low, and several of its provisions have proved impractical, experts said at a workshop in HCM City on Tuesday.
Trần Minh Thái, deputy head of the municipal Health Department’s personnel division, said that, for instance, the regulation giving female workers up to 20 days leave for taking care of their sick children needs to be amended to give them more days off.
“In case children are ill for a longer period, their mothers have to take leave to take care of them. If their leave exceeds 20 days, they lose their benefits. Some are even sacked.”
This is “unequal,” he said.
When a woman does not buy social insurance but her husband does, the law is not clear about what happens when their child is sick, he added.
Thai further noted that people who buy social insurance voluntarily do not benefit when they are sick or become pregnant.
Dr Đỗ Thị Ngọc Diệp, head of the city’s Nutrition Centre, said that though on paper the law offers incentives to employers hiring a large number of female workers, the former are not able to realise the intended benefits.
Detail guidance documents on the incentives should be issued, Diep said.
Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy head of the Health Department, several obstacles stood in the way of providing gender-based healthcare services in the city.
The city’s abortion ratio of 50 per cent of live births last year was still high, despite the reduction from more than 61 per cent in 2011, he said.
Among other things, he blamed illegal sex selection for this, warning that it would worsen gender imbalance in the country.
Phạm Thị Mỹ Lệ, deputy head of the city’s Family Planning- Population Division, said the ratio of newborn boys per 100 girls between 2011 and 2015 ranged from 105 to 107.
This was similar to the World Health Organisation’s natural "sex ratio at birth" of 105, she said.
But in some of the city’s outlying districts like Bình Chánh and Củ Chi, this figure was as high as 116.5 and 112.8, she added.
Other speakers said at the workshop that banning sex selection at birth was not very effective because there were no penalties in place for this action.
They suggested several incentives are given, including providing scholarships to girl students if a family only has female children.
Hưng said that apart from amendments, propagation of the law and its provisions should be improved. — VNS