Social Justice, Vietnam | 2024-05-30

Gender Equality in People’s Councils

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics – Institute of Scientific Socialism (since 2015)

An interactive drama performance to encourage women to join People's Councils in the northern province of Ha Giang in 2016.

In recent years, women’s rights have played a central role on the national agenda of Vietnamese politics. Yet, People’s Councils – Vietnam’s legislative bodies on the provincial, district and communal level – face significant challenges in achieving gender equality. One obvious reason is the low representation of women in the People’s Councils. In rural and ethnic minority areas their share of council seats averages only about 20 percent. In addition, many People’s Council members lack the skills and resources necessary to effectively promote women’s rights and address issues such as sexual violence. Therefore, the Institute of Scientific Socialism of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA-IS) and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung have initiated a series of projects to assist People’s Councils in strengthening gender equality.  

In 2015, HCMA-IS began supporting women in ethnic minority areas to run for office and, once successful, expand their general operational capacities. These women tend to face additional hardships, such as increased rates of poverty, discrimination and patriarchal prejudice as well as limited access to education. HCMA-IS conducted training workshops throughout the remote provinces of Vietnam’s north and central highlands. These centered on campaigning and operational skills and enabled hundreds of ethnic minority women to share their experiences. HCMA-IS also published educational materials, including a Q&A handbook on ‘Skills for Female Members of People’s Councils’. Further, HCMA-IS used interactive drama performances to demonstrate the importance of backing women candidates for local communities.

As the number of women representatives has grown, HCMA-IS has recently shifted its focus on tackling concrete issues to ensure gender equality in everyday life. Many People’s Councils reported difficulties in addressing forms of sexual violence, for instance sexual harassment in the workplace. From 2022 to 2024, HCMA-IS has been hosting trainings for hundreds of People’s Council members in Hanoi and the previous project areas. Through interactive learning methods the representatives acquired skills and strategies to combat sexual harassment in their constituents’ workplaces. These efforts have already resulted in several People’s Councils discussing and implementing measures to improve their monitoring programs and create safer working environments.

To learn more about another collaboration with HCMA-IS on the topic of education, check out our publication on the educational cooperation between the German Democratic Republic and Vietnam before 1989.

HO CHI MINH NATIONAL ACADEMY OF POLITICS (HCMA)

HCMA was founded in 1949 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam as its most important academic institution. Today, HCMA is under direct leadership of the party’s Politburo and constitutes the country’s foremost center for the training and fostering of leaders, civil servants and academic staff of the party and state. Further, HCMA advances research on Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought as well as provides the scientific basis of party and state guidelines. Its Institute of Scientific Socialism was established in 1964.

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