Joint Conference on “Research and Education for Gender Equality Enhancement”

On 21st March 2013, to implement the MOU signed on 1st November 2010 by the Korean Institute for Gender Equality Promotion & Education (KIGEPE) and the Central Women Cadres Training School (now known as Vietnam Women’s Academy - VWA), KIGEPE and the VWA hosted the Conference, “Research and Education for Gender Equality Enhancement”.

The Conference attracted representatives from numerous international and local agencies/organizations, institutes, and centers in Vietnam, such as: UN Women, the Korean Embassy, MOLISA, CGFED, IFGS, etc.There were many interesting discussions and presentations facilitated by key speakers from those organizations and centers. The Conference was chaired by the VWU Vice President Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha.

Associate Prof. Dr. Hoang Ba Thinh – Director of the Center for Gender, Population, Environment and Social Work Studies – Hanoi National University, gave a presentation o­n “The situation of education in promoting gender equality in Vietnam today, and issues raised for the Vietnam Women’s Union”. Through an objective stance, an overview of the training activities o­n gender equality in Vietnamese universities and colleges was presented.

Ms. Jun Gil Yang, a representative of KIGEPE’s delegation,shared the history and experiences of KIGEPE as a gender equality promotion & education institute, and as an example for gender equality enhancement achievement in Korean cases. First established in 2003, KIGEPE is now o­ne of the leading, specialized institutes in developing cultural awareness of gender equality and promoting gender equality. Ten years after being established, KIGEPE has given gender equality education and training to 43, 854 out of the country’s 600,000 civil officials.

Ms. Vu Phuong Ly, Senior Program Officer of UN Women in Vietnam, gave a speech o­n “UN Women’s roles in gender equality enhancement in Vietnam”. The speech highlighted the following activities of UN Women in Vietnam: 1. Women’s leadership and participation; 2. Women’s economic empowerment and access to resources. 3. Laws, policies and strategies to prevent violence against women and girls; and 4. National planning to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

KIGEPE’s delegates also shared their tools for gender equality education and methods to coordinate training programs. In light of this discussion, many questions were raised: How to create greater gender training demand? How to facilitate cooperation with both local and international organizations? What policy should the government have o­n officials’ taking part in gender equality training? Advantages and disadvantages of e-learning courses o­n gender equality? How to mainstream gender in education programs? Overall, the delegates were truly interested and invested in setting up a training network o­n gender equality and developing the potential of the Vietnam Women’s Academy.

The second working session of the conference focused o­n gender research with a presentation delivered by Associate Professor Dr. Nguyen Huu Minh o­n “The Reality of Gender Research in Vietnam”. This presentation focused o­n four key areas of gender issues: Education and Training, Labor and Employment, Healthcare, and Management/Leadership. The presentation provided a comprehensive understanding of gender research in Vietnam and clearly stated that many organizations and associations research gender in an effort to promote gender equality, but that the result does not commensurate with the potential and expectation of professionals and society in general.

Sharing o­n gender studies, Professor Kang Nam Sik of KIGEPE’s delegation presented the following issues: strategies for gender mainstreaming and gender policy in Korea; gender analysis, gender impact assessment, and gender budgeting. Professor Kang Nam Sik’s presentation opened up new directions that can be adapted to gender studies in Vietnam.

With the ambition of becoming the main hub for gender studies in Vietnam, Vietnam Women’s Academy representative and Deputy Director of the Institute for Women Studies, MA. Nguyen Thi Phuong, introduced the organization, its development activities, and the direction of the Institute in the context of its new establishment.

Discussions were raised o­n such issues as: Building and training an expert team that includes males; The process of policy analysis and evaluation in Korea; mechanisms used to monitor, supervise, and ensure the implementation of laws and policies for gender mainstreaming; and the role of KIGEPE in monitoring and policy making to implement the monitoring and supervision. The answers provided by KIGEPE, as well as the plan proposed by the experts to develop the VWA brand name in the field of gender research and education, confirmed the success of the conference.

On behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Union, Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha thanked KIGEPE, organizations, professionals, and all participants of the Conference for their contributions and confirmed that such a workshop is a basis for the parties to enhance cooperation and exchange more experiences in research, education, and promoting gender equality in the future.

The conference ended in excitement and hope for comprehensive cooperation between the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Vietnam Women’s Academy and other organizations/ agencies working for a common goal of developing a society of equality and happiness.

Giang Tran – VWA International Cooperation Division