Women, especially those from rural and ethnic minority areas in Vietnam, are much more likely than men to be excluded from economic opportunities, and to derive livelihoods from lower value, less skilled and less secure work. Women from ethnic minority groups are less likely to secure waged employment and Vietnamese women overall have less access than men to land, credit and technical training. Many ethnic minority women also have poor financial literacy and less influence over decisions within the home and the community.
Vietnam's National Strategy on Gender Equality 2011-2020 commits to narrowing the gender gap in the economy, to ensure women can get quality jobs, and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs. It also aspires to increase the access of poor rural and ethnic minority women to economic resources and the labour market. Empowering women to participate actively in the economy is critical to reducing poverty and building a sustainable economy. Australia is working to support women's economic empowerment, including for those most excluded.
Australia will focus its support on Vietnam's northern mountainous areas, which have a higher incidence of extreme poverty. Consistent with our economic partnership, we will complement the efforts of the Government of Vietnam by identifying, trialing and scaling-up new approaches to closing gender gaps in economic livelihoods in these areas, including by working with the private sector. We will also support programs and policies that better empower women.
The Australia-Vietnam Climate Change Strategy 2011-2016 worked with stakeholders including women and vulnerable groups in a range of related sectors including climate-resilient agriculture. While a number of the programs developed under this strategy have ended, the lessons and partnerships they generated have informed Australia's investments for 2015-2020. The Integrated Coastal Management Program now has a stronger focus on gender equality and women's economic empowerment in its activities.
Promoting women's economic empowerment, including ethnic minorities fact sheet
Aus4Equality is an umbrella initiative that aims to increase social and economic empowerment for ethnic minority women in the North-West area of Vietnam, where there is a higher incidence of extreme poverty. The initiative supports women to better engage in agriculture and tourism markets, enhances their voices in decision-making, promotes partnership with the private sector, and supports more inclusive government policies and services. This initiative consists of the following investments:
- Women's Economic Empowerment through Agricultural Value Chain Enhancement
- Gender-Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism
- Investing in Women
- Support to the Second National Study on Violence against Women and Girls.
Aus4Equality fact sheet
Gender-Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT)
$33.7 million, 2017-2021
GREAT will empower women in Lao Cai and Son La province to better engage in agriculture and tourism markets, enhance women's voices in decision-making, promote partnerships with the private sector, and support more inclusive government policies and services. The project was launched by the Australian and Vietnamese Foreign Ministers in November 2017 during APEC Leaders' Week in Da Nang, Vietnam. The project has three objectives:
- Empowering local women: Women living in local communities have increased capacity, space and choices to beneficially engage with agriculture and tourism businesses.
- Inclusive businesses partnerships: Selected private sector actors within the agriculture and tourism sectors profitably and sustainably engage with more women as producers, suppliers, traders and entrepreneurs, and operate in gender sensitive ways.
- Improving sector governance and policy: Government agencies reinforce policies and enact plans, regulations and services that enable more inclusive socio-economic development.
Women's Economic Empowerment through Agricultural Value Chain Enhancement (WEAVE)
$3.49 million, 2016 - 2020
The project supports ethnic minority women's economic empowerment in pork, cinnamon and banana value chains. This is achieved by promoting equality between women and men within households and producer groups, strengthening female and male producers' skills and bargaining power, and working with businesses and government decision-makers to improve the policy environment to support producers. WEAVE is implemented by a consortium of three international non-governmental organisations: CARE International, Oxfam and SNV.
Investing in Women
$4 million, 2017-2019
Investing in Women is working work in Vietnam to promote increased employment opportunities for women in the formal sector, and the expansion of women-led small to medium enterprises, contributing to more inclusive economic growth. As part of the initiative, we will seek to promote women's leadership and decision-making in workplaces and businesses. The Vietnam component of this investment started in 2017.
Support to the Second National Study on Violence against Women and Girls
Australia is collaborating with the United Nations Population Fund to support the Government of Vietnam to carry out Vietnam's Second National Study on Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG). The study will:
- Estimate the prevalence, frequencies and forms of gender-based violence in Vietnam
- Provide estimates of economic costs of VAWG at the household, regional and national levels
- Assess the extent to which VAWG is associated with health and socio-economic outcomes
- Identify factors that may either protect or put women and girls at risk of gender-based violence
- Document and compare strategies and services women and girls use to deal with gender-based violence, perceptions of VAWG, and the extent to which women and girls understand their legal rights
- Identify any changes in the VAWG situation in Vietnam since the first survey was completed by the General Statistics Office in 2010.
Integrated Coastal Management Program (ICMP)
$16.6 million, 2011-2018
The Mekong Delta is home to 18 million people and is the third-largest industrial region of Vietnam, after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is Vietnam's most important agricultural region producing 55 per cent of the country's rice and feeding more than 245 million people worldwide. The region's people and resources are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including saline intrusion in coastal areas, riverbank and coastal erosion, flooding due to land subsidence, and sea level rise. Rapid development is exacerbating these impacts and placing further pressure on resources. These issues extend beyond provincial boundaries, which means that cooperation between provinces and with neighbouring countries is critical to protecting people, their livelihoods and the environment.
ICMP supports the Government of Vietnam to use strengthened planning, technical and financial capacities to foster climate-resilient development of the Mekong Delta. Practical, cost-effective solutions to coastal protection, sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, successfully piloted in phase one (2011-2014), are being scaled up and institutionalised for greater impact and sustainability. The main outcomes of the second phase of ICMP (2014-2018) include:
- Establish the political, administrative and legal framework for formulation of broad-based investments aimed at climate resilience and green growth
- Technical and financial capacities of partner organisations are built so that selected measures targeting coastal protection, water management and agriculture can be broadly implemented
- Institutional conditions for climate-resilient development of the Mekong Delta's coastal ecosystems are improved and new strategic partnerships are created.
ICMP is jointly financed by the Governments of Australia and Germany. ICMP is implemented by GIZ in partnership with Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Resource Development and five provincial governments.
Typhoon Damrey Emergency Response Project
In November 2017, the south-central coastline of Vietnam was hit by Typhoon Damrey, a strong tropical cyclone that affected 15 provinces across the region and resulted in an economic loss estimated at USD 1 billion.
Australia is providing $400,000 to support recovery efforts in partnership with CARE International in Vietnam. The Typhoon Damrey Emergency Response Project is being implemented in four communes in the provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue between January and September 2018. The project will assist in the provision of shelter, clean water and livelihood recovery for about 8,000 men, women and children, including:
- Providing multi-purpose cash for poor households, single or elderly men and women to repair their damaged houses and buy food
- Supporting farmers to recover their livelihood with cash support and training courses to enhance their farming skills and techniques in the context of climate change and frequent natural disasters
- Providing clean water and hygiene facilities, focusing on children in kindergarten and primary schools.