Mon, 03/06/2017 - 08:26 - 24 Views

Sexual harassment against women and girls is currently widespread in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Their workplace and living conditions are being threatened by not only thieves but also by sexual harassment even in crowded areas.

On December 9, 2016 the National Committee for the Advancement of Women (NCFAW) in Viet Nam, in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), organized a workshop entitled “Intervention Program for Improving the Quality of Life for Women and Girls in Ho Chi Minh City”. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lien- Vice President of the Viet Nam National Committee for the Advancement of Women, Ms. Shoko Ishikawa- Chief Representative of UN Women in Viet Nam, Ms. Marianne Oehlers- Chief Representative of UNICEF in Viet Nam and a number of persons in charge of gender equality and social work attended the workshop.

The purpose of the workshop was to build a sexual-harassment intervention program system based on gender equality through the collection of opinions from related key persons. The program has been carried out since early April 2016. During those six months, the researchers interviewed women and girls who were victims of sexual harassment in public places or industrial parks in order to set up relevant interventions. In addition, two previous workshops were organized on November 17 and 18, 2016 to discuss the vision of a safe city and to determine  causes and solutions against harassment behavior. 

Ms. Shoko Ishikawa at the presentation

According to Ms. Shoko Ishikawa, the impact of sexual harassment behavior affected not only the victims but also their family and community. On November 27, 2016, Ms. Shoko Ishikawa and other researchers organized a meeting with seventy young people living in HCMC to observe their behavior in reacting against this critical issue and to encourage them, especially women and girls, to protect their living conditions. Therefore, an intervention program is critically necessary and it is essential as well to obtain more guidance and support from the government and social organizations for its citizens’ safer living conditions. 

Information collected from the two previous workshops

Ms. Tran Thi Kim Thanh, Head of the Gender Equality Section in the Department of Labor- Invalids and Social Affairs of HCMC, pointed out that the workshop should specify intervention activities based upon the four main results of the last two-day discussion. They included: (1) Setting up gender-responsive intervention programs that are locally appropriate and feasible; (2) Effectively setting up and implementing a comprehensive legal system to protect women and girls from experiencing sexual violence in public places; (3) Making improved investments in the safety and economic growth of the infrastructure in public spaces; and (4) Adjusting the people’s awareness and behavior in order to ensure the women’s and girls’ right to violence-free public spaces. 

The workshop participants were then divided into four discussion groups to focus on the four main interventions agreed to, and then set up a time-frame for developing a concrete intervention program. 

Discussion groups at the workshop

Ms. Tran Thi Kim Thanh stated that she hoped that these solutions will be implemented as soon as possible to improve the quality of living conditions for women and girls at HCMC.


Reported by Nguyen Hoang Anh Linh