Vietnam needs to do more to improve gender equality: World Bank

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Vietnam has made remarkable progress toward gender equality but important gender differences still remain, according to the latest World Bank report.

The "Vietnam Country Gender Assessment" analyzed and evaluated gender issues in Vietnam in three aspects: Poverty and Well Being, Employment and Livelihoods and Political Participation.

According to the report, Vietnam has had considerable progress in addressing gender disparities in education, employment and health. The gender gap in earnings is lower in Vietnam than in many other East Asian countries, and women's incomes have improved significantly.

The report points out that the gender gap in primary schooling has been eliminated and women have caught up and even surpassed men in terms of attaining college degrees, except in certain ethnic minority groups. However there is a significant degree of segregation of men and women in their fields of study.

The improvement in health indicators for women has been remarkable, but the problems of HIV and AIDS and gender violence are still significant, it says.

According to the report, sex ratio at birth increased from 106 male births/100 female births in 1999 to 111/100 in 2009.

The gap in labor force participation and earnings has narrowed considerably, with women's wages now being about 75 percent of men's the gap is lower than many other East Asian countries.

However, women are also in more vulnerable jobs, for example, own-account work and unpaid family labor, the two categories seen as a minimum estimate of the lack of decent work, the report found.

Even though representation of women in the National Assembly is high by regional standards and there is a woman member of the Politburo, there are signs that women do not have an equal voice in the public sphere.

In fact, women's representation in 2011-2016 National Assembly term got slightly worse, from 27.3 percent for 2002-2007 to 24.4 percent.

According to the report, gender equality policy commitments are more lip service rather than the institution of concrete measures.

The regulation regarding retirement age (55 for women and 60 for men) not only terminates women's careers at an earlier age than men, but has knock-on effects on other aspects of their careers.

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