On September 25, 2012 LIN Center for Community Development held a workshop “Gender and Women Issues” in district 3, Ho Chi Minh City. The workshop featured presentations covering a broad range of gender issues from Dr. Nguyen Bao Thanh Nghi, Department Head and Lecturer of General Knowledge and Skills, Hoa Sen University, and Ms. Nguyen Thanh Xuan, Gender and Development Expert.
Dr. Nguyen Bao Thanh Nghi presented strong and compelling content on issues that Vietnamese women face today in HCMC. Vietnamese women are often portrayed as hardworking because they are constantly working for their families, developing the community and the country. In spite of that, Vietnamese women are perceived as inferior to men and therefore become victims of discrimination, inequality and violence. A UN report and National Report on Domestic Violence Prevention shows that violence against Vietnamese women occurs throughout the country among 1/3 of married women. Today’s context shows that many women continue to struggle to earn equal wages as men. Furthermore, media continues to play a large role in exposing images of defined gender roles and some popular movies continue to expose viewers to images of sex and violence towards women.
Ms. Nguyen Thanh Xuan, development expert, provided a gender survey report done by LIN from June to August 2012 to gain more insights into different perspectives on gender and perceptions among Ho Chi Minh City residents. The report presented powerful numbers and statistics that revealed the struggles Vietnamese women face.
The second part of the workshop was facilitated by Ms. Xuan, with a skit, performed by volunteers in the audience. Prepared briefly during the break, the skit delivered a message of gender discrimination in a family, and gender perception in career choices. Afterwards, groups were formed to discuss about the gender issues that appeared in the skits. Many groups gave valuable insight by discussing gender issues, how realistic was the skit, what are possible solutions to the problem and who is responsible for implementing the solutions.
The workshop received positive feedback from participants. Ms. Nguyen Thi Diem Trang, founder of A New Day group, said it provided her with helpful information and ideas to work with the community. “There are still a lot to do with gender and women issues in Vietnam,” said Ms. Trang. “Today’s workshop provides helpful ideas to participants and motivates us to make a change in the community. I will write a proposal and submit to LIN.”
Ms. Nguyen Thanh Xuan told us she was impressed by the group discussions. “The participants have shown active awareness in gender issues,” Ms. Xuan said. “It’s important to support them to solve these issues more effectively.”
Mr. Pham Truong Son, LIN’s NPO Liaison concluded the workshop with news that in December this year, with sponsorship from GFCF (Global Fund for Community Foundation), there will be an opportunity for partner NPOs to receive a community grant focused on specifically gender issues. This workshop is a part of a series of technical supports provided by LIN to build capacity for the NPOs before the community grant round. A second workshop will be organized on 25 October, to provide models of NPO programs that address the needs of Vietnamese women, and review elements of a competitive proposal. One-on-one consultations and Skilled Volunteer Matching will also be provided to applicants.
By Diane Nguyen – LIN Communication Volunteer