Social Justice, Vietnam | 2024-06-08

Feminist Legal Theory in Vietnam

University of Economics and Law (since 2021)

UEL staff, RLS Hanoi and representatives of Die Linke discussing and celebrating the launch of the book "Towards Vietnamese Feminist Judgments" in early 2024.

Feminist Legal Theory originated with the second-wave feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Its supporters argue that legal systems are often complicit in perpetuating gender inequality and marginalizing women’s perspectives. Over the past 50 years, Feminist Legal Theory has made significant contributions in the fields of public participation, prevention of sexual violence, family relationships and women’s working conditions. However, within Vietnam, legal scholarship has largely overlooked such feminist jurisprudence. Up until recently, barely any curriculums or publications were applying feminist frameworks. Thus, in 2021, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) and the University of Economics and Law (UEL) initiated a series of projects aimed at introducing Feminist Legal Theory to the country’s legal education and practice.

A cornerstone of this partnership has been the publication of the book “Towards Vietnamese Feminist Judgments” in early 2024. Authored by UEL lecturers, this book elaborates on the theory and practice of feminist jurisprudence in Vietnam. After giving a general overview on Feminist Legal Theory, the book displays the framework’s application to six prominent Vietnamese legal cases. Through a reinterpretation of these cases, it demonstrates in which ways legal decisions can either reinforce or challenge gender inequality. In addition, UEL and RLS directly supported law students in their engagement with Feminist Legal Theory. Multiple books on the issue have been translated and provided to the university’s library. In 2022, UEL lecturers developed an undergraduate course and hosted a 10-day international summer school on the topic of ‘feminism and law’.

UEL and RLS have agreed to expand on these efforts until 2026. UEL is organizing a biannual ‘Feminism, Gender and Law Week’ for its students, which includes writing competitions, poster exhibitions and a public talk series. Additionally, the University is hosting regular international conferences and workshops on feminist jurisprudence. These events allow scholars to discuss cutting-edge research and develop new collaborations. In these ways, UEL and RLS succeed in raising awareness on Feminist Legal Theory. Over the past years, there has been a staggering increase in student submissions and scientific publications applying feminist methodology. This research, in turn, informs judicial practice and paves the way towards more feminist judgments.

University of Economics and Law (UEL)

UEL was founded in 2010 as a branch of the Vietnam National University of Ho Chi Minh City. It is a higher education institution as well as a scientific research and technology transfer center. The University offers a broad range of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

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