This #InternationalWomensDay, we’re calling on you to stand with girls everywhere as they demand urgent action from their leaders.
Girls Get Equal is a social campaign that is changing the way girls are valued and is challenging the social norms, attitudes and beliefs that are the root causes of gender inequality.
According to the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, Vietnam ranked 77 out of 149 reviewed countries.
Progress has been made in Vietnam in respect to women’s economic participation with the gap between men and women in the labour force reducing. In addition, there is a law in place to ensure equal pay for women. In Vietnam there are also a proportionally large number of girls entering further education.
However, gender inequality is still prevalent across the country. For instance, women only hold 26.7% of positions in parliament and 4.2% of ministerial positions. In addition, there is still a gender pay gap and women hold only 27.2% of senior positions in the workplace.
There are several social norms in Vietnam that cause girls to be discriminated against. For instance, girls are seen as being responsible for household chores and taking care of the family, and girls with a high level of education are seen to have a smaller chance of getting married.
Among ethnic minorities in Vietnam, child marriage is still a big issue because parents often believe it is not worth investing in their daughters’ futures. Therefore, many drop out of school early and become dependent on others.
In recent years there have been many cases of sexual abuse towards children in Vietnam causing girls to feel unsafe in public, at school and even at home. In March 2019, the community expressed their indignation towards the case of a man who was fined $10 after sexually harassing a girl in a public elevator. The campaign “If not now, then when?” was shared widely on social media to call for a harsher penalty for sexual harassment.
We realise that the root cause of gender inequality and girls’ rights issues is social norms, beliefs, damaging gender stereotypes and prejudices. Plan International Vietnam’s influencing work is changing these beliefs and promoting girls’ power in communities across the country.
The message behind Girls Get Equal is embedded in nearly all our programmes and projects. For instance, gender equality is promoted in our gender responsive schools programme, our Safer Cities project is creating safe urban environments for girls and our Champions of Change clubs are encouraging young people to speak up for their rights. Our work is focussed on supporting girls to become self-confident, positive and able to take the lead in their lives.
We know that changing social norms and beliefs has never been easy, but we strongly believe that persistent efforts will result in positive impacts.
In 2019, Plan International Vietnam launched the series 247 Journey to promote Girls Get Equal in Vietnam.
Girls Get Equal is a social change campaign. The vision of this campaign is a world where girls and women, in all their diversity, can make decisions about their own lives and their own surroundings.
Achieving equality for girls means going beyond specific issues such as child marriage, sexual harassment and teen pregnancy. The campaign targets the norms, attitude, beliefs, systems at the root of these girls’ rights issues.
Instead of prioritising a specific issue, the campaign wants to put girls themselves first, supporting them to speak out and advocate for their own rights.
Plan International and youth activists across the world are together to make a positive impact on society. This is our invitation to YOU – do you want to create a world where girls and women are seen, heard and valued?