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Gender equality key to enhancing competitiveness, sustainable development

Promoting gender equality through the revision of the Labour Code will serve as a base for Vietnam to improve productivity and its competitive edge, as heard at a workshop in Hanoi on October 19.

The event was held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Investing in Women programme, an initiative run by the Australian Government and UN Women Vietnam. It drew the participation of around 200 representatives from the National Assembly, Government, trade unions, and diplomatic and international organisations.

Seeing the substantial benefits of gender equality in terms of labour, the Vietnamese Government has made concerted efforts to reduce discrimination based on gender found in the provisions of the Labour Code in 2012. Amendments are being made to the Labour Code as a way to build a more competitive economy and create stable jobs towards stimulating economic growth in line with the Government’s 21st century visions.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha affirmed that creating a favourable working environment for female workers has always been a top priority for the Government.

Suggesting changes in the approach to gender equality promotion, Ha said that specific regulations for female workers should be amended into regulations on measures to ensure gender equality, and the maternal leave system should be entitled to both male and female parents.

Amendments to the Labour Code are billed as an opportunity to make some serious headway in this issue, she added.

Meanwhile, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick said that gender inequality is not only a social issue but also an economic issue, and a formidable challenge to comprehensive and sustainable growth.

Participants at the event said that the Labour Code will be revised in the context of Vietnam joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), providing the country with opportunities to get access to the European market and the member states of the CPTPP.

Amending the Labour Code is part of Vietnam’s efforts to realise international commitments on ensuring gender equality in places of work. Participants agreed that it is necessary for Vietnam to eliminate the disparity in the retirement ages between men and women, as well as complete regulations to combat sexual harassment at the workplace if the country wants to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Also, the country should work to ensure there is no gender discrimination in maternity regime and child care, among others, they said.