|Viet Nam has just elected its first NA chairwoman ever, Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân. This is expected to boost women’s participation in politics. — VNA/VNS Photo|
NINH BÌNH (VNS) — As the country’s National Assembly (NA) election day, scheduled for May 22, approaches, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is promoting stronger political participation by women.
Speaking at a seminar held in Ninh Bình City today, the ministry’s Deputy Minister Nguyễn Trọng Đàm said increasing women’s participation in people-elected bodies would help realise substantive gender equality and ensure their engagement in deciding policies, especially those pertaining to women, children, gender equality and human rights protection, as well as culture, education and other social issues.
“Women account for half the country’s population. That’s why we need more women to participate in the decision-making process and to represent voters. Under international experience and study, it has been found that to have a decisive voice, women must hold at least 30 per cent of the seats in the State apparatus,” Đàm said.
He said Việt Nam had made strides in increasing women’s presence in people-elected agencies, from 3 per cent at the first NA to 24.4 per cent at the 13th NA (from 2011 to 2016).
In the 2011-2016 period, women accounted for 25.17 per cent of the deputies in People’s Committees at the provincial level, 24.62 per cent at the district level and 21.71 per cent at the commune level.
However, this number has not been stable throughout the years.
One of the reasons for this instability is the awareness of leaders in each period, former vice president of NA’s Office Nguyễn Sĩ Dũng said.
“If a leader is well aware of the importance of women’s participation in political issues, that will drive him or her to promote it properly; otherwise, the rate might fall,” Dũng said.
It is hoped this issue will be addressed by the new Law on the Election of NA and People’s Council deputies, which stipulates that at least 35 per cent of official candidates for positions in these councils must be women.
“This will increase opportunities for the country to attain prosperity. Half of Việt Nam’s population are women. If they can be given the same chances as men, 100 per cent of the population will be able to contribute. That’s much better than only 50 per cent,” Dũng said.
Dũng added that while women faced certain disadvantages compared to men when participating in politics, it was very important for them to be involved in the process.
“While male politicians tend to have a broader view, female politicians often look at the issue in detail. While men look at the whole picture of the country, women look at the lives of individuals. And it is common knowledge that women are also more understanding. Voters need representatives who really listen and understand their problems,” he said.
But in order for this to work effectively, it is necessary not only to promote the role of women in the decision-making process but also to dismiss old-fashioned views.
“It is the norm for the media to praise women for being good at both their job and taking care of their families. But that also creates a burden for women to bear: How can they be superwomen? Men need to share the housework and help take care of their children,” Đàm from MOLISA said.
“To break this stereotype, communications and the media play a very important role. We cannot praise them to a level that makes gender inequality even worse," he added. — VNS