Gender equality and women empowerment have made considerable advances, especially in education. The rate of secondary school-girls against school-boys has risen from 86% in 1993 to 94.5% in 2003. Similar increase is evident in colleges and universities. The number of elected female members of the National Assembly accounts for about 27.3%, one of the highest among Asian Parliaments. The registration of both the husband and wife’s names in the certificate of land-use rights has been conducted on a large scale, ensuring women of access to credit funds. Domestic violence has been restricted with improved position of women in family and society.
Despite great advances in gender equality, gaps still exist in getting access to basic social services and opportunities to education and health care. Early marriage, sexual discrimination and maltreatment against women, sexual abuse of girls, prostitution, trafficking of women and children, etc. – social problems and violations to women’s right to equality and dignity – have not been effectively settled. Objectives of women’s advancement and gender equity have not been paid due attention by authorities at various levels Tourism has the capacity to provide opportunities for employment for people of a wide diversity of backgrounds, capabilities and skills. In order to maximise the skills potential available to it within any society, tourism must seek to attract the most talented from all segments of the community, particularly those under-represented within the existing labour pool. In the context of the Vietnamese labour market, women stand out as meriting particular attention at a strategic employment level.
The tourism industry is a particularly important source of employment for women. Increasingly, more women are taking up employment in the sector in both traditional and non-traditional occupations attracted by the clean and pleasant working environment; reasonably good working conditions and flexible working hours. The percentage of women employed in restaurants, hotels and other tourism services is higher than in the general workforce with 56% (ref. VNAT’s Programme for HRD in Tourism to 2015); because there is an enabling environment already in place that allows for equitable participation of women in Vietnam’s tourism and hospitality industry. Particularly because of all the indirect tourism related jobs that exist, there are substantial job opportunities for women available in the wider tourism economy. At a time when the relative significance of agriculture within the Vietnamese economy is on the wane, it is important that opportunities be created for them, particularly in rural, more remote parts of the country.
It is expected that the ESRT through its community and pro-poor tourism initiatives will have substantial effects on developing opportunities for women in rural communities, enhancing their skills capabilities, their employment and earning potential resulting in more women being in control of their own future.
The ESRT will promote equal representation of women in all training activities ensuring at least a 50% participation rate by women. The programme will also raise awareness within the industry and among tourists of the dangers of exploitation of women. The programme will also support measures to counter such practices.
The ESRT will also engage a minimum of 50% women employees and will actively encourage contracting women trainers, consultants and business mentors. Further, an urgent and immediate need to carry out a comprehensive gender analysis is clearly understood. The ESRT will be undertaking further gender analysis to ensure gender issues are mainstreamed into the activities of the programme wherever possible. An important aspect of this gender analysis will be to consider the needs and key strategic interests for women. Strategic interests are of far greater importance than basic survival interests and play out over a longer time horizon, and address a need to shift relative power, provide equal opportunities, and eliminate all forms of oppression. For women, this will require that they achieve access to and control over resources and opportunities, both as a means of increasing their relative power in society as well as to gain greater control over their own lives.