Vietnam has made great achievements in promoting gender equality and narrowing the gender gap, especially in terms of employment, health care, and education. The Ministry of Labour - Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA) launched an action month for gender equality and prevention of gender-based violence from November 15 to December 15, 2018. This is the third year the ministry has carried out this activity.
Statistics show that the percentage of female-owned enterprises hit 27.8% in 2017, the highest in Southeast Asia and ranked 19th worldwide.
The rate of female National Assembly deputies in the 2016-2021 tenure is 27.2%, higher than the Asian average of 19% and the global average of 21%.
Vietnam was ranked 97th out of 144 countries in terms of the rate of women participating in politics. It is one of the top 10 best performers worldwide in terms of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 on gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, increasing the literacy rate of girls, and promoting the participation of women in all aspects of the workforce.
However, Vietnam still faces many challenges in ensuring gender equality between men and women. The gender pay gap still exists in many areas, while violence against and the abuse of women and children are still a regular occurrence in many regions across the country. The percentage of women working in low-income occupations with poor working conditions also remains high.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the rate of girls in primary and secondary schools is lower than that of boys, especially in poor rural and ethnic minority areas.
Female access to reproductive healthcare services in rural and ethnic minority areas is limited, while maternal mortality is high compared to those in regional countries.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that Vietnam is witnessing an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth, as this ratio stood at 112.8 boys for every 100 girls in 2015, and has increased to 113.4 boys for every 100 girls at present.
If the sex ratio continues to increase and widen as it is, Vietnam will face a serious gender imbalance in the next 20-25 years, experts said.
Other challenges of gender equality in Vietnam are also related to the growing population, such as family planning activities and reproductive health, the labour market, and social status.