Stronger representation and advocacy for women’s rights in Vietnam

Feb 28, 2019

400 x 250 Vietnam political leadershipWith more women elected and with stronger representation of women’s issues, women’s rights in Vietnam will be advanced. ‘The best way to increase the number of women elected and selected to leadership positions is to increase the number of female candidates and increase the percentage of female candidates nominated by central level institutions’ (UNDP, 2014).

APHEDA’s Gender in Political Leadership and Decision Making project aims to:

  • Increase the percentage of women elected to the Vietnam People’s Council at all administrative levels (commune, district, provincial and national);
  • Equip women elected to the People’s Councils with the skills and experience required to represent the interests of all their constituents, including women.

To achieve this, the project focuses on a combination of skills-building, lobbying/advocacy and organisational backing by key Vietnamese institutions.

In 2011, APHEDA in partnership with Irish Aid, supported a similar project in the lead up to the 2016 national elections. Of the 300 women candidates, 203 were elected (68%). Of the 203, 68% were standing for election for the first time. An important side effect was a noticeable increase in the number of women turning out to vote.

In this current project phase in the lead up to the 2021 national election, the project has set itself the ambitious target of having 677 women standing for election.

The implementing partner organisation for this project, the 8 March Center, was set up by the Hai Duong Women’s Union to commemorate the significance of International Women’s Day. The Centre provides a platform to improve the status of women and also facilitates women’s empowerment. It also runs wellbeing activities under the guidance of the Hai Duong Women’s Union. Hai Duong province is a growing industrial area where large migrant and local women work in the garment textile and other industries.

Building long term chance for women

In the past twelve months, the project has:

  • Built the capacity of 206 women deputies through skills building related to understanding and working within the political process and local campaigning to build voter support.
  • Facilitated province wide promotions of women’s rights, gender issues, gender policies and protections against violence. Drawing together influential and respected organisations including Women’s Unions, the Fatherland Front and People’s Councils.
  • Developed six networks for 583 women at commune level to share experiences and develop peer support.
  • Facilitated the development and adoption of gender equality indicators within provincial government plans, against which all government departments must report. These indicators include the number of women in key leadership positions, the number of women attending vocational training and of those attending vocational training and the number who are successful in securing a job.

Learning and exchange with Australia

The focus of the next twelve months will be on increasing the number of women nominated as potential candidates for election and supporting nominees to effectively campaign and receive enough local support to be elected for the next 5 year term of 2021-2026. Parallel to this, is building effective skills in representation to ensure that, if elected, the candidates offer strong leadership and translate women’s representation in the political process into concrete wins for women’s equality in Vietnam.

APHEDA’s Vietnam Country Manager will lead a delegation to Australia in 2019 of women candidates to exchange and learn with Australian women MPs.

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More information:


The ‘Promoting Gender Equality in Political Decision Making’ program is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), Irish Aid and Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA members and supporters.

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