HA NOI, 28 February 2013 - The United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) organized today in Ha Noi a policy dialogue on gender equality to commemorate the 2013 International Women’s Day (celebrated on 8 March worldwide). In order to celebrate International Women's Day and respond to the theme of CSW Session 57th, the policy dialogue was attended by over 200 participants, including policy makers, representatives from MOLISA and other ministries, the Viet Nam Women’s Union, the UN in Viet Nam, bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as NGOs and the media.
International Women’s Day (March 8) recognizes the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world. The theme this year is based on the topic for the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW): “The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The 57th session of the CSW will take place at UN headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March, with the participation of representatives from Member States, Governments (including Viet Nam), UN entities and civil society. This year’s meeting will review implementation of activities to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and girls, identify remaining obstacles and new challenges, and provide concrete recommendations for actions.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights and exist in a variety of forms around the world. Vietnam, like other UN member states, has consistently showed its strong political commitment in eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls. This commitment is proved by that the government has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), incorporated gender issues into socio-economic development programmes and criminalized gender-based violence by law. Despite the progress made, obstacles remain in the implementation of the Gender Equality and Domestic Violence Laws.
Opening the event, H.E Mme Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, Minister of MOLISA and Chairperson of the National Committee for the Advancement of Women in Viet Nam, affirmed the government's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment through the further implementation of related gender equality policies and programmes. At the same time, this dialogue has illustrated Viet Nam government’s strong message and the breakthrough solutions on the elimination and prevention all forms of violence against women and girls on the occasion of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Speaking at the dialogue, Ms. Pratibha Mehta, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam stressed that: “Violence against women has enormous economic costs. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on extra healthcare costs and lost productivity as a result of gender-based violence. For instance, in the US intimate partner violence is estimated to cost some US$5.8 billion a year and in Fiji it amounted US$135.8 million, equal to seven percent of GDP, in 2002. In Viet Nam, a UN study estimating the cost of domestic violence in Viet Nam concluded that domestic violence resulted in an overall productivity loss of 1.78 percent of GDP in 2010… We need laws and policies that promote a supportive environment for the realization of all of women’s rights.”
During the event, key milestones and remaining challenges related to the implementation of the Gender Equality Law and the Law on Domestic Violence Prevention and Control which have come into effect, were presented by the representative from MOLISA and the Women’s Union.
Key findings from recent UN research on HIV/AIDS intimate partner transmission were also presented. The research shows that a growing proportion of new HIV infection cases are women, including a large number of women at risk of exposure by high-risk long-term male partners.
Finally, representatives from three NGO networks working on gender equality and women’s advancement in Viet Nam shared their experience of cooperating on activities to promote the rights of women and girls in Viet Nam.
In addition to the policy dialogue, the UN is also supporting two other events to commemorate International Women’s Day. This includes an event hosted with the Vietnamese Youth Union and the Embassy of Ireland on “Breaking the stereotypes”, which aims to challenge traditional gender roles that segregate women and men into particular types of occupation. The event will take place at The University of Social Sciences and Humanities on March 6. The UN is also supporting the “Smiling Tears” exhibition, which will take place from 12-29 March at the Centre for Women’s Development, and which is also supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Embassy of Norway, the Centre for Women’s Development, and the NGO networks GENCOMNET, DOVIPNET & NEW.
The Policy Dialogue has been succeeded with the commitments and recommendations to promote gender equality of the all parties. As the co-chairs of the event, MOLISA and the UN remain committed to working together to support the effective implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality (2011-2020) and the National Programme on Gender Equality (2011-2015), and ensuring a society free of violence against women and girls.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
One UN Communications
Tel: +84 4 3822 4383 (ext. 117)
Mob: 0913 093363
Ms Mai Thi Thanh Nga
Tel: +84 4 3942 1495 (ext. 203)
Mob: 0124 5100 818
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