|The Australian embassy and UN Women in Việt Nam on June 2 launch a one-year programme to support 8,000 women at risk of violence and abuse and survivors n HCM City and Tiền Giang Province. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Diệp|
HCM CITY — An estimated 8,000 women in HCM City and Tiền Giang Province at risk of violence and abuse and survivors will benefit from a year-long programme that will provide recovery support.
The US$1.46-million project was launched by the Australian embassy and UN Women in Việt Nam in the city on Thursday.
It seeks to enhance the resilience of women as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and boost the capacity of local service providers to respond to women at risk of violence in an emergency setting.
Poor, near-poor and unemployed women will benefit from cash transfers and technical assistance for recovering their livelihoods.
The project will equip beneficiaries with knowledge and life skills to cope with gender-based violence and information on how to seek services and support.
By the end of the project in March next year it is expected that five million people will have increased awareness of issues related to gender equality and gender-based violence.
The project interventions are also designed to enhance the capacity of around 2,000 key service providers to respond effectively 24/7 to women’s needs in an integrated manner.
HCM City and Tiền Giang Province are two of the southern localities most affected by the pandemic and at highest risk of natural disasters.
Lâm Thị Ngọc Hoa, standing vice president of the city Women's Union, said the pandemic has directly affected people's lives by causing loss of livelihoods and incomes.
“Though the city has been proactive, measures to revive the economy and mobilise all resources for ensuring social security and people's livelihoods, especially support for affected women and children, has not reached everyone who needs assistance.”
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, the UN Women representative in Việt Nam, said the pandemic has slowed progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and disparities including gender issues in the country.
“Women’s loss of employment and income and increased unpaid care responsibilities have only served to underscore inequality in gender roles and the increase of women’s economic dependence and vulnerability.”
Economic stress, disaster-related instability and limited access to, or knowledge of, services are known to increase the risk of violence against women and children, she added.
The 2019 survey on the National Prevalence of Violence Against Women found that two in three women or 62.9 per cent, who self-identified as ever being married, had experienced violence at the hands of their husbands.
Some 49.6 per cent of the women who experienced violence never told anyone and 90.4 per cent did not seek professional support.
Due to the impacts of the pandemic, the women’s labour participation rate fell by eight points between 2019 and 2021 from 70.9 per cent to 62.3 per cent.
The pandemic contributed to a reduction in working hours for women and loss of jobs across manufacturing and services.
A rapid assessment conducted by UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women with the support of DFAT in 2021 found that women and children in particular were at greater risk during the period of social isolation.
It found that more than one in three women in HCM City experienced at least one form of violence during the pandemic period, with more women reporting experiencing controlling behaviours and economic violence. — VNS