Women occupy 'stronger' positions Vietnam

Ha Noi (Viet Nam News/ANN) - Speaking at the meeting, which reviewed the work of the women's movement over the past five years, Vice president of the Vietnam Women's Union Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy said that aside from assuming greater responsibility for building a happy home life, Vietnamese women had made progress in the political field.

She said women had been more active in championing citizen's rights and had been more involved in politics at all levels. Women now made up 24.4 per cent of the National Assembly, while female staff in State agencies at district and central levels accounted for 31 per cent of all employees, she said.

Meanwhile, women comprised 25 per cent of all entrepreneurs in the country, and had created tens of thousands of jobs.

The number of female intellectuals had also increased steadily, with an increasing proportion of young women becoming involved in scientific and technological work. Thuy said about 39 per cent of women went on to higher education and attain master's degrees and 37 per cent got their PhDs or became professors.

At the ceremony, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said women accounted for 51 per cent of population and 48 per cent of the labour force. He said many joined to form the Party's policies and played key roles in implementing the Party's Resolution 11 of modernising the nation by 2020.

Trong noted that the union's activities had promoted the creativeness of women, adding that this development should be encouraged to consolidate the unity of the nation.

According to Thuy, women still needed support when it came to countering traditional prejudices in society.

"The number of women who are holding decision-making and policy-making positions remains low. For example, female leaders on people's committees and people's councils only accounts for 4 per cent," she said.

However, poverty is hindering the development of women, especially in remote and mountainous areas.

Cut Thi La, chairwoman of Luong Minh Commune's Women Union in Nghe An Province, which is home to Khmu and Thai ethnic groups, said 84.5 per cent of households remained poor. She told Viet Nam News that women had fewer opportunities to improve themselves if they were living in poverty.

"They are all farmers and rice fields only bring them one crop a year. Poverty has makes it difficult for them to let their children pursue high education," La said.

She added that about 50 per cent of middle-aged women in her village used to be illiterate.

According to Thuy, there's a large gap between women in rural areas and big cities. Women in remote areas had less opportunity to access information, education and training and social security system.

After five years, women unions at all levels have managed to set up bookcases in more than 1,840 communes and eradicated illiteracy for 54,000 women. More than 1,1 millions of women received vocational training and 800,000 found jobs.

During the three-day congress, held every five years, more than 170 representatives will continue discussing the tasks for the next five years, elect a Central Executive Committee of the Vietnam Women's Union.

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