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Renovating the Party’s leadership, a decisive factor to the successes of the Vietnam Women’ Union in woman mobilization
10/5/2019 9:0' Send Print
Member of the Party Central Committee, Chairwoman of the VWU Nguyen Thi Thu Ha presents Lunar New Year gifts. Photo: VNA

Continued study and renovation of the Party's leadership over the work concerning women and the Vietnam Women's Union (VWU) to meet demands of national development in the current period must be considered an important political task and associated with mobilizing the great national unity block for sustainable development of the country.

The Party's leadership mode is a combination of methods, ways and solutions that the Party uses to carry out its leading role as the ruling Party, leading the State and the whole society. The Party's leadership mode depends on many factors, including targets of leadership and changes according to tasks and requirements of each revolutionary stage and at the same time, the leading contents placed in the dialectical relations with organizational structure, operating mechanism, working style of the organizational system, each cadre, party member and public employee.

The domains under the Party’s leadership are very broad, including the mobilization of women and the VWU as a socio-political organization represents legal and legitimate rights and interests of women of all strata. In all revolutionary stages, the Party has always attached great importance to the role and contribution of women and at the same time indentified: "Work concerning women is the responsibility of both the political system and the whole society and each family. The Party Committees at all levels are the core leading force, the state management agencies at all levels hold direct and major responsibility, women are the subjects with the VWU at all levels as the core force.” (1) The innovation of Party’s leadership towards the VWU and the mobilization of women must respect self-reliance, support all voluntary, positive, creative activities and sincerely listen to women’s opinions on the basis of compliance with the Constitution and laws. This is a decisive factor to successes of mobilization of women in general and the operation of the VWU in particular, especially in the years of national renewal. One of the Party's leadership methods towards mobilization of women and the VWU is the promulgation and leading the implementation of lines and resolutions with the following contents:

First, renovation of the procedures, the way of promulgating the Party resolutions on the mobilization of women and the VWU to enhance women's participation and promote the Union’s critical role in developing documents.

Thoroughly grasping the spirit of the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 8th Tenure on some basic and urgent issues in the current Party building which are to renovate the way of issuing the Party resolutions and directives, the resolutions must be concise, clear for Party committees, organizations and branches to implement immediately and to reduce waiting time for guidance of implementation at all levels, in recent years, the Party has carried out innovation in approaching woman issues, strongly promoting the VWU’s role of criticism in making and promulgating policies, and resolutions related to mobilization of women. Regulations on obtaining opinions from the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, including the VWU have been included in many documents of the Party and State, such as: the Regulation on supervision and social criticism of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and political and social organizations according to Decision No.217-QD/TW dated December 12, 2013 of the Politburo; the 2015 Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents; the 2015 Law on Government Organization; the 2015 Law on Organization of Local Government; the Law on Gender Equality.

Democracy has been promoted and women's opinions have been taken into consideration. Direct dialogues between the heads of Party Committees, and authorities with the VWU have been organized. Consultations with concerned agencies, organization and, especially woman beneficiaries or those affected by lines, resolutions and policies have been made. Therefore, promulgated lines, resolutions and policies meet scientific requirements while respecting objective law, focusing on correctly handlings issues relating to woman and the VWU’s work and to lead all levels, sectors, the VWU and women of all strata and society as a whole in implementation.

Contributing to the drafting of the 2013 Constitution, the VWU at all levels collected 1.2 million comments and opinion from more than 10 million women. In 5 years from 2013 to 2018, the VWU provided critical feedback to important draft laws that directly affect women and children, gender equality, such as the Civil Code (amended); the Criminal Code (amended), the Law on Marriage and Family, the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Children; held 21,742 direct dialogues (2) with relevant agencies to propose specific contents to draft documents based on women's opinions, aspirations, VWU’s functions and tasks and law. Many comments of the VWU were taken seriously, supplementing and completing policy system on gender equality and policies which are evaluated as progress compared to other countries in the region.

Second, promulgated policies and resolutions shift from taking care of women to promoting the role of women in the cause of national development; the VWU’s role as the center of solidarity, rally, guidance has been elevated, acting as a core force in woman work, representing women of all strata, particularly in developing laws, policies, supervision, social criticism, party and administration building.

First of all, women who were considered to be targets of concern and care now play the role of subjects in woman work, bring into play their potential, make contribution as an important human resource in the development of the country. In the early period of innovation, the Vietnamese Party considered "liberation of women an important goal and content of the renovation." (3) Resolution No. 11-NQ/TW dated April 27, 2007 stated "improving women's status, implementing gender equality in all areas are among important tasks and objectives of the Vietnamese revolution in the new era," (4) while confirming the role of women as subjects in the cause of national renewal. After more than 30 years of renovation, by 2007, Decree No. 21-CT/TW dated January 20 2018 of the Secretariat “On stepping up the woman work in the new situation,” (5) beside giving continued attention to and care for women, especially women in the mountainous, deep-lying, border areas, islands and women of ethnic minorities, women with disabilities, single, elderly, pregnant women, women raising children, female migrant workers, women changing jobs, attaches importance to promoting and exploiting women’s potential and strength as an important human resource of the country, developing high-quality woman human resources, paying attention to training, fostering, utilizing and honoring female talents to encourage potential, wisdom, creativity, startup, aspirations of female leaders, managers, intellectuals, scientists, and businesswomen.

Closely following Party lines, during the early stage of renovation, the VWU at all levels focused on caring of women through campaigns "Women help each other in family economy" and "Women bring up their children well,” urging them to strive to implement orientations on comprehensive reforms to bring the country out of a difficult period; supporting women in capital, knowledge and experience. Women were provided capitals through models of "Women’s saving group," "Compassion Fund," and the movement "A day of saving for poor women."

Not only VWU at all levels but administrations and social organizations at all level shifted their activities from taking care of women to promoting the strengths, potential and role of women in line with the Party viewpoints, and obtain relatively clear outcomes, especially in recent years. Thus, women have proactively, actively participated and made important contributions in all areas of life; high-quality female human resources have taken shape. In political field, the proportion of female cadres in leadership and management is increasing, many have assumed key and important positions at central and local levels; in scientific and technological activities, state-level research projects led by women have contributed to scientific basis for policy making, application in production and practical activities, bringing about benefits in many areas.

Regarding the role of the VWU, if Resolution No. 04-NQ/TW (6), dated July 12 1993 affirmed: "The VWU is an organization representing the interests of women, a center gathering and uniting Vietnamese women, guiding and mobilizing women to strive for the cause of woman liberation and equality between men and women, ” more than 10 years later, Resolution No. 11-NQ/TW dated April 27, 2007 elevated the role of the Union to the core force in woman work. Accordingly, the representing role of the VWU at all levels is increasingly appreciated and promoted through "strictly fulfilling the responsibility to ensure the participation of the VWU at all levels in Party and administrations; social supervision and criticism; implementation of a number of tasks in the socio-economic development program.” (7) Given the promulgation of many Party regulations on supervision, criticism and participation in Party and administration building of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and mass organizations (8), the VWU has been proactively and effectively realizing its role of representing women and enhancing women’s mastery, particularly in making policy and building laws, especially those laws and policies relating to gender equality and women's rights; supervision of the implementation of law and policies relating to women has been increasingly attached importance to. Through supervision and social criticism, errors in policy implementation have been timely detected, helping cadres of the Party and the State, including leaders to make adjustments, (9) proposing appropriate policies to create social consensus, contributing to strengthening people's confidence in the Party. (10)

Third, institutionalization of lines and resolutions into specific policies to exploit, promote the potential, strengths, the role of women and take care of women, especially specific and vulnerable woman groups.

The socialist-oriented market economy requires a strong institutionalization of the Party lines and resolutions on woman work, because women account for half of the society's labor force. Women are greatly impacted by market economy laws. They accept competition and have opportunities to affirm their talents and advantages if there is a fair, impartial institutional system. Their rights are ensured in three aspects: 1. Legally recognized, 2. Executively enforced and 3. Judicially protected. With that viewpoint, special attention has been given to building concrete policies to ensure legitimate rights and interests, promoting the potentials and advantages of women.

For the first time, the concept of gender equality was codified in the 2013 Constitution. Legal documents have institutionalized most viewpoints and lines on woman work, creating a basis for Vietnam to become a country with much progress in developing a legal framework for gender equality and the advancement of women, creating equal opportunities for women. In policy and legal documents, the role and position of the VWU have become clearer. A number of specific laws on women, such as the Law on Gender Equality, the Law on Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence, among others were issued. The role of the VWU at all levels in state management is confirmed by Decree No. 56/2012/ ND-CP, dated July 16, 2012 of the Government "Regulating responsibilities of ministries, branches, People's Committees at all levels in ensuring the participation of the Vietnamese Women's Union at all levels in state management.”(11) This has created mechanisms and conditions for the VWU to participate in activities and programs relating to women's rights and interests, mobilized women’s realization of gender equality objectives, contributing to the implementation of socio-economic programs through specific schemes and programs. (12) The National Assembly and the Government have issued policies and programs to protect and support women (13) with many new and progressive regulations. (14)

With the highest goal of sustainable development and leaving no one behind in the process of international integration, beside continuing "assisting Vietnamese women to develop comprehensively," the Party has implemented an important solution in mobilization of women: "Develop and implement specific policies to support women in mountainous, deep-lying, border areas, and islands, women of ethnic minorities, women with disabilities, single women, elderly women, pregnant women and women raising small children, migrant women, and women who change jobs.” (15) The Government has institutionalized the Party viewpoints by approving programs "Communicating and mobilizing women to participate in solving social problems in the period of 2017-2027," and "Supporting women startups in the period of 2017-2025."

Fully aware of the special important role of woman in the family, the Party lines focus on resolving family problems through a relatively synchronous policy system. (16) Accordingly, the Government has issued the Vietnam Family Development Strategy through 2020, with a 2030 vision, approved and implemented many projects to support family development. Many social security policies, programs and projects on supporting families have helped change traditional roles, reduce women’s time for house chores, thus women to have time to study and improve their qualifications, and participate in social activities.

Implementing the Party lines, in the past years, the VWU have reached out to many different targets, expanding alliance, enhancing the role of representation, building and mobilizing the participation and role of high-quality female human resources, including female leaders, managers, intellectuals and business women while adopting specific solutions for women in specific and difficult situations, such as the programs "Compassion roof,” (17), "Accompanying women in border areas." (18) Assisting women to build happy families and Vietnamese women has been a key task throughout many terms. The VWU has closely cooperated with related ministries and agencies to implement projects on building families, and the movement "Building 5 No and 3 Clean Families" in association with building a new rural areas and civilized urban areas, capacity building of women, supporting women in economic development, family education, health care and safety for women and children.

It can be said that innovation in mobilization of women has positively enhanced social awareness of women's roles and abilities. Women's life, employment, working conditions, study, entertainment have been constantly improved; women's qualifications and capacities have been raised. Women are more confident, proactive, benefiting from achievements of the development process, while affirming their important role and position in the family and society, contributing positively to socio-economic development, national defense and security.

In short, from a few basic perspectives as mentioned above, as well as practice, it is possible to see that the Party’s leadership towards the work of women and the VWU has been regularly, synchronously renovated in all aspects, of which the most obvious is the innovation in the promulgation of lines and resolutions and in leading the institutionalization of lines and resolutions. This is an important factor of decisive significance to the successes of the VWU’s activities as well as a positive changes in mobilization of women of the whole society. The VWU has fulfilled its functions, tasks and core roles in mobilization of women. Their livelihood has been much improved. Given their contributions in all areas of social life, women have affirmed their indispensable role as an important human resource for national construction and renovation.

However, the current socialist-oriented market economy and international integration have posed many problems for mobilization of women, including stratification, different concerns, benefits and needs of different woman groups which are very different from before. A part of women, especially rural women, ethnic minority women, women with disabilities have still met with difficulties; Crimes relating to women and children, domestic violence have growingly complicated; labor issues, employment and changes of family culture have brought about opportunities as well as challenges that should be overcome.


(1) Resolution No. 11-NQ/TW dated April 27, 2007 of the Politburo "On woman work in the period of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country"
(2) According to the 5-year Report on the implementation of Decision No. 217-QD/TW, Decision No. 218-QD/TW of the Politburo in 63 provinces/cities
(3) Resolution No.04-NQ/TW dated July 12, 1993 of the Politburo On innovation and strengthening mobilization of women in the new situation
(4) Resolution No.11-NQ/TW dated April 27, 2007 of the Politburo. (Op.cit.)
(5) Directive No.21-CT/TW dated January 20, 2018, of the Party Secretariat On continuing to promote woman work in the new situation
(6) Resolution No.04-NQ/TW dated July 12, 1993 of the Politburo. (Op.cit.)
(7) Directive No.21-CT/TW dated January 20, 2018 of the Party Secretariat. (Op.cit)
(8) Regulation No. 217-QD/TW and Regulation No.218-QD/ TW dated 2013 of the Politburo; Regulation No. 124-QD/TW dated 2018 of the Secretariat on supervision of party members
(9) In 2017, participating in monitoring the implementation of policies towards people with meritorious services, the VWU discovered 541 cases of wrongdoing. The Union sent petitions to local Party committees and administrations for rectification, contributing to social equity.
(10) Providing comments and opinions to the Law on Social Insurance (revised), the Presidium of the VWU recommended to reducing the number of years of paying social insurance premiums from 20 years to 15 years for local full-time female cadres to be entitled to pensions. Similarly, the Union proposed assistance to poor and ethnic minority birth mothers in line with population policies; The proposal was approved by the Government and included in Protocol No. 39/2015/NĐ-CP, providing VND 2 million per birth mother. The adjustments were hailed not only by direct beneficiaries but also by public opinions.
(11) Decree No. 56/2012 / ND-CP dated July 16, 2012 of the Government "Regulating the responsibilities of ministries, branches and People's Committees at all levels in ensuring the VWU at all levels to participate in state management"
(12) The Programs “Communication and education on ethics” “Communication and mobilization of women to participate in solving social problems,” and “Supporting women in startup”
(13) The Labor Code, the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Law on Health Insurance, the Law on Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence, the Law on Human Trafficking Prevention and Control , the Law on Marriage and Family
(14) Reducing the number of years of paying social insurance premiums from 20 years to 15 years for female workers who are local full-time or part-time cadres in communes, wards and towns to be entitled to pensions; supporting poor ethnic minority birth mothers in line with population policies; increasing the maternity leave of female laborers from 4 to 6 months; for the first time, men whose wives give birth are entitled to paternity leave
(15) Directive No.21-CT/TW dated January 20, 2018 of the Secretariat (Op.cit.)
(16) The 2014 Law on Marriage and Family, the 2007 Law on Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence, the 2016 Law on Children, the 2013 Land Law
(17) The Program on a building houses for women with special difficulties implemented from 2007 to 2017 mobilized VND 1,000 billion to build 35,695 new houses and repaired 23,000 houses.
(18) The Program on supporting women in difficult border areas has been launched since 2018. After more than 1 year of implementation, it has mobilized more than VND 38 billion with many specific support activities for 110 especially difficult border communes

Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, PhD,Member of the Party Central Committee, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Women’s Union