Female delegates make significant contribution for growth: Findings
All public decision-making—from socio-political issues to labor relations and economic activity—must apply a gender lens to ensure that the specific needs and expectations of women and men.
Experts have called on voters to select competent and qualified candidates, regardless of their gender, in the upcoming general election for deputies of the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-26 term.
The call is a synthesis of findings and recommendations from a new study entitled "Roles, Performance and Contributions of Vietnamese Women Representatives" during the 2016-2021 period. It was conducted with the participation of 248 National Assembly delegates, or 50% of the total, and 136 provincial People’s Council deputies from major cities of Hanoi and Cantho and the southern province of Binh Phuoc.
Based on qualitative and quantitative research data, the study suggests policy responses and actions to promote gender equity in elected legislative bodies in Vietnam during the 2021-2026 period and towards 2030.
Speaking at a virtual thematic discussion, jointly convened by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH- Vietnam National University in Hanoi), and UNDP in Vietnam, Ambassador Robyn Mudie from the Australian Embassy said that with the gendered economic and social impacts of Covid-19, addressing women’s concerns holds the key to sustained recovery for Vietnam.
“Closing gender gaps within the ranks of elected bodies and in women voters’ access to public officials and information is an asset for governance in the pandemic era,” Mudie said.
During the 2016-2021 term, the National Assembly has its first female chairperson, and women delegates account for 26.8% upon the 2016 Election. Women took up 26.7% of seats in the Provincial People’s Councils during this term, as a result of the 2016 elections.
The study reveals that the delegates’ areas of focuses and strengths are different. Nevertheless, many elected representatives insisted that the interest of voters is the most important factor influencing their views of a specific issue.
Women delegates more frequently engage with voters via social networking applications than men delegates. Both men and women of the National Assembly and People’s Council were confident that they had promptly responded to voters’ proposals and petitions. “They noted that their top strength was in performing the legislative mandate.”
In the meantime, interviewed Provincial People’s Council deputies, men and women alike, considered that oversight performance is the top strength.”
Regarding their action plans, women delegates pay more attention to the fields of education, training and health than men delegates. Likewise, women delegates are more responsive to petitions and proposals from voters during this term.
In terms of values, both surveyed men and women representatives from the National Assembly and Provincial People’s Councils valued the merits of ‘listening’, ‘having personal viewpoints’ and ‘having the ability to persuade others’. Women representatives tend to value the merit of ‘having the ability to
persuade others’ than their men counterparts.
Elisa Cavacece, Deputy Head of Mission, the Embassy of Ireland, said women’s leadership in the public sector is an important issue as it is essential to have women’s perspectives and voices involved in the decision-making process.
“Public policies should fully capture the perspectives of both men and women to ensure equity and fairness,” she added.
|Women deputies of the National Assembly for the 2016-2021 period. File photo|
Vote for competent women candidates
The study recommends that there must be women representatives in the Standing Committee of the Party at provincial Party committees at all levels, in which the proportion of women representatives at all levels should be between 20% and 25%. The rates of women representatives in the National Assembly and People’s Councils should be over 35%.
To do so, the report suggests having at least 45% of candidates of either gender enlisted as candidates for the National Assembly and People’s Councils, building on the current momentum of having 45.28% of candidates for the National Assembly’s 15th Plenum.
Pham Quang Minh, the Research Team Lead from the USSH, highlighted one key finding from the study that elected women representatives performed as well as their men counterparts, and in some areas, the former have even outperformed the latter, during the 2016-2021 term.
“We should confide in and vote for competent women candidates for them to represent 50.2% of women in Vietnam’s population," Minh said.
UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen emphasized the basic premise is that ‘both half of humanity’ must have an equal say about issues that matter to them.
She said all public decision-making—from socio-political issues to labor relations and economic activity—must apply a gender lens to ensure that the specific needs and expectations of women and men. “The persons who identify themselves of non-binary gender, are given full consideration and that conditions are met for harnessing the full potential of every human being and workforce member.”
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