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Promoting gender equality through revision of the Labour Code
10:28 AM 27/04/2018
(LĐXH)- On April 26, over 80 experts from governmental agencies, local organizations international organizations, and academia gathered in Ha Noi for the workshop "General Consultation on Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Impact Assessment of the Proposal to Revision Viet Nam’s Labor Code”.
The event was jointly held by Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), UN Women and the Australian Embassy.
The aim of the workshop was to identify gender discriminations present in the provisions of the current 2012 Labour Code, discuss effective strategies and interventions, and share policy recommendations for Viet Nam to revise the Labour Code and create an equal working environment for both men and women.
The workshop "General Consultation on Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Impact Assessment of the Proposal to Revision Viet Nam’s Labor Code” was organized in the context of increasing trade integration and requirements from the 2013 Constitution, as well as international human rights and labour treaties ratified by Viet Nam. The upcoming revision provides the opportunity to align the Labour Code with Viet Nam’s obligations towards gender equality and address emergent issues around gender equality and the world of work.
Some recommendations emerging from the Gender Impact Assessment report include providing better protection to workers from sexual harassment, equal pay for work of equal value, a work environment that supports all workers to share household responsibilities and care roles, tackling limitations on women’s career choice and the gendered retirement age disparity, amongst others.
Opening the workshop, Ms. Le Thi Nguyet, Vice-Chair of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee said: “From international practices and experience, it is the time to change the approach of transform regulations “protecting female workers” into regulations “promoting gender equality” for male and female workers. The specific regulations for female workers that the current Labour Code should contain are: i) measures to ensure the promotion of gender equality in practice- not only temporary special measures; and ii) parental leave provisions for both men and women.”
Speaking at the workshop, Ms. Elisa Fernandez, Head of Office UN Women Viet Nam highlighted that "The Labour Code revision presents an opportunity to address the recommendations from the CEDAW Committee, which include adopting the same mandatory retirement age for women and men, and reviewing and reducing the list of occupations prohibited for women. Gender equality in the world of work is not only a rights issue. As the growing body of evidence shows, gender equality significantly contributes to advancing economies and sustainable development".
Ms. Rebecca Bryant, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy said, “Australia is proud to be supporting MOLISA in this exercise, which will place the country at the forefront of ASEAN and APEC members with a gender transformative, modern text aimed at making Vietnam more productive, more competitive and respectful of workplace rights for women and men”
The Gender Impact Assessment report was conducted in line with requirements under the Law on Promulgating Legal Documents, with the aim of mainstreaming gender equality into policy impact assessments at the proposal development stage for Labour Code revision. Information gathering for the assessment took place during October-December 2017 through field visits and online surveys. The Gender Impact Assessment report provides recommendations to ensure and promote gender equality and non-discrimination in career opportunities, skills and capacity development, as well as enabling conditions for the implementation of rights, obligations and the equal enjoyment of benefits for men and women in the workplace. Some of the major changes proposed are:
Move towards equalizing the retirement age for men and women;
Strengthen provisions to address sexual harassment at workplace;
Implement measures to protect the reproductive functions of all genders, not only female employees;
Remove gender requirements related to eligibility for support related to child-rearing and care, in order to promote the sharing of family responsibilities.
Feedback from the general consultation will contribute towards improving the Gender Impact Assessment report. This will then inform the work of the Drafting Committee towards a revised Labour Code that incorporates the highest standards of gender equality. 
Duong Thin
TAG: Bộ luật Lao động sửa đổi bình đẳng giới
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