Women’s political participation and innovations key Viet Nam’s sustainable and inclusive development

October 19, 2022
UNDP Viet Nam

Ha Noi, 19 October 2022 – In anticipation of Vietnamese Women’s Day, the UN Development Programme held a seminar with National Assembly deputies, and representatives from ministries and relevant government agencies, academia, civil society, and development partners to reflect on the journey of women’s political participation and women-led innovations for Viet Nam’s development. 

Viet Nam has achieved commendable progress compared to other countries in the region.  According to the 2022 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report, Viet Nam scores 0.705 on a scale from 0 to 1 in terms of gender gap index, ranking 83 out of 146 countries, improving its position from 87 in 2021. The 2021 election resulted in the increased number of women deputies to the National Assembly and provincial People’s Council. The percentage of women in the 15th National Assembly Plenum is now at 30.26 percent, which is higher than the previous term.  Similarly, women representation in the People’s Council Offices at all levels was also higher.

However, women are not well represented in executive office or the higher echelons of power. The decreased number of women’s representation in the 13th Party Congress and the 13th Politburo has shown that progress towards targets is not steady.

Women’s participation at the local level faces even greater challenges.  According to UNDP PAPI findings over the last 2 years, women are particularly under-represented at the local level, particularly for village leadership positions. In 2019, of 812 villages surveyed, only 101 (accounting for 12 percent) had female leaders. The remaining 88 percent had male village leaders. The evidence from PAPI also strongly suggests that the additional bias against women holding village leadership positions is higher in rural areas than urban areas.

Viet Nam has only 3 more years to reach its own target of 60% of the state agencies and local governments having key female leaders by 2025, and only 7 more years, to achieve 75% of the state agencies and local governments having key female leaders and 35% women’s representation in the National Assembly by 2030.  

Participants in the Seminar discussed to understand better the underlying causes of women’s under-representation in politics and shared ideas about new initiatives to address the existing gender gap and identify a clear roadmap to achieve all national targets, especially efforts to tackle deeply rooted social norms and beliefs against women leaders as well as ways to strengthen leadership capacities that are key to promote future female leadership.

UNDP Resident Representative Ramla Khalidi shared UNDP approach to support Viet Nam achieve its ambitious targets. “Women are increasingly seen as active agents of change- the dynamic promoters of social transformations that can alter the lives of everyone,” she said.  For that reason, UNDP’s approach is about empowering women as positive change agents in an inclusive public sphere by promoting their equal participation and representation at all levels. Beside tackling structural inequalities, we consider women as strategic partners whose active participation and ability in planning, design and implementation are essential to all of UNDP’s programming”.

On this occasion, UNDP launched of its first-ever podcast 'Descendants of Hai Ba Trung', featuring voices from the frontline of the climate crisis. Carefully curated, each episode showcases the journey of women from all backgrounds sharing their experiences in mobilizing their communities and taking action in the field of agriculture, disaster risk reduction, circular economy etc; to adapt and mitigate climate change. The podcast is expected to inspire women and ensure that women’s voices are not ‘left behind’ but rather heard at all levels.


For more information, please contact:

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Communication Lead, phone: 0914436769; email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org 

Nguyen Thi Thuy Duong, UNDP Communication Consultant, phone: 0983135799, email: nguyen.thi.thuy.duong@undp.org