Director of the Center for women and development gave an interview to Vietnam Women’s Newspaper about empowering and creating opportunities for women

On the occasion of the Month of Action for Gender Equality, Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence in 2023 that takes place from November 15th to December 15th, 2023, The Newspaper of Vietnamese Women had a conversation with Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh, Director of CWD, to discuss the issue of raising awareness, increasing empowerment and creating opportunities for women and girls to implement gender equality and the elimination of gender-based violence.
Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh, Member of the Central Presidium of the Vietnam Women's Union, Director of the Center for Women and Development

- Interviewer: It can be seen that gender-based violence against women and children exists in different forms and is always smoldering in life. Can you share more about this issue?

Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh: According to data from the 2019 National Survey Report on violence against women, 2 out of every 3 women experience at least one form of violence. The number is clearly announced and must be made public to see that the violence situation is on the rise.

The Peace House Shelter of the Vietnam Women's Union began operating in 2007 with many free activities and comprehensive services for women and children in different localities. Up to now, after 16 years of operation, nearly 1,700 women have come to Peace House Shelter, of which the number of women suffering from domestic violence accounts for nearly 80%, the remaining women are trafficked. The most heartbreaking thing is that the number of women who come to the Peace House Shelter experience up to 3/4 forms of gender-based violence, it means the level of violence is significantly increasing.

Through all the above data, we want to say: With the participation of agencies, the situation on gender-based violence has had encouraging results. However, there are still a lot of things that should be done. It can be seen that not only rural women or women with low education but also women with high education level, children, and adults are at risk of being victims of gender-based violence.

- Interviewer: These are truly alarming numbers about the reality of gender-based violence against women and children. So what risks may arise for victims of violence?

Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh: We clearly defined that: Violence greatly affects both the victims and those who cause it, especially the children in the family.

From a macro perspective, the National Survey report shows that our GDP is also affected by violence, and according to the announcement, violence reduces GDP by up to 1.6%.

For society and family, it can be seen that violence causes psychological problems that require a lot of time for treatment. People suffering from violence can be treated physically very quickly, but mental problems and panic may last not just 1 year or 2 years, but even for a lifetime. Especially, children in a family that witnesses parental violence will be affected in the formation of their future personality.

In particular, society also suffered from psychological problems. People who experience violence are affected physically, which obviously also affects their spirit and work. They no longer want to integrate, they always feel ashamed and insecure. Therefore, the working productivity is also affected.

The Women's Union has been implementing effective action programs to raise awareness, prevent gender-based violence, and protect the rights and interests of women and children.

- Interviewer: Regarding the Vietnam Women's Union of all levels, what action programs have been implemented to prevent gender-based violence and protect the rights and interests of women and children?

Ms. Duong Ngoc Linh: In fact, it should be noticed that only 10% of women experiencing violence go to the authorities or seek support to solve the problem. violence. The remaining 90% do not seek help. This indicates that they are really insecure so they do not seek help to solve the problem they are facing.

Therefore, the Vietnam Women's Union has participated in. We set a target during our term that 70% of violence cases will come to the Women's Union in locals to be helped. And during this term, the target has increased to 80%. This is the target on which we evaluate the activities of associations at all levels.

First of all, we focus on propaganda, helping women themselves understand about gender-based violence is as well as the role of the Women's Union in solving these problems. The propaganda forms also have innovations. We realize that it will be ineffective if the women's union talks about violence while they are the main victims, so we have had many special forms of propaganda. For example, the Center for Women and Development has followed the Australian White Ribbon Breakfast model. We invited men to have breakfast together and discussed a certain topic about gender-based violence, so that the men themselves could discuss and come up with solutions to prevent the violence. It actually worked.

In addition, we also organize propaganda on violence prevention at many markets, targeting people in remote and highland areas so that every woman can understand the issue.

Through the above examples, I would like to emphasize that it is right to implement propaganda, but we must choose the appropriate form and attract the whole political system to be involved.

Propaganda programs on violence prevention, targeting people in remote and highland areas

Secondly, we focus on policies so that legal documents or policies issued in the near future will pay attention to gender-based violence.

Thirdly, we also focus on improving support services for women who have experienced violence. Specifically, Peace House Shelter's hotline has now been upgraded to be able to receive 100 calls at the same time. Currently, we have built another Peace House Shelter in Can Tho and plan to open one more in Quang Binh for women in the Central region. There is also an One-Stop Service Office for migrant women.

Models to support women in developing their livelihoods have been implemented in many localities

Last but not least, the Vietnam Women's Union has had many activities to propagate and support women suffering from gender-based violence. Especially, we focus on helping women increase their power. Women in their family must be proactive in income guarantee, decision making,... We are implementing activities to support women in start-up, advocating for the establishment of cooperatives, instructing businesses methods to create livelihoods, and organizing national-target programs to support ethnic minority women. Our goal is to empower women, so they can proactively make decisions and be the ones who determine the family's income. Only then will violence be gradually eliminated.

- Interviewer: Thank you Madam!