Sex imbalance at birth has aggravated in Vietnam, with 4.3 million men expected to be in surplus in mid-21st century, deputies warned at a National Assembly discussion session on Thursday morning.
Deputy Le Thi Yen, representing the northern province of Phu Tho and member of the National Assembly (NA) Committee for Social Affairs, reported the outcomes of a program meant to improve gender imbalance during the session.
“Our country is facing yawning gender imbalance. The ratio of male/female newborns in Vietnam is forecast to be 113/100 in 2017, while it was 109/100 in 2006,” she said.
Between 2.3 and 4.3 million male adults were predicted to become ‘unwanted’ by mid-21st century, Yen warned.
The shortage of women in society is likely to lead to undesirable impacts including ‘purchase’ of foreign bribes, rape and violence as experienced by such countries as China and India.
Yen put the sex discrepancy down to a strong cultural preference for sons rooted in a Confucian-affected male-oriented kinship system in Vietnam.
The rate worsened amidst the rising trend of married couples having fewer children and a readily accessible practice of sex selection thanks to medical strides.
“We need to act now. Propaganda on the role of women and measures to solidify their role should be improved, while harsh penalties are to be slapped on sex selection cases,” the Phu Tho delegate urged.
Meanwhile, Truong Minh Hoang, a delegate from the southernmost province of Ca Mau, pointed to the uneven ratio of female political leaders versus their male counterparts.
“We’ve set targets of improving the proportion at all levels. However, only one minister in the government is female and only 16 cities and provinces have appointed women to key roles to date,” he said.
“The inadequate ratio of female leadership posts has revealed shortcomings in personnel planning,” Hoang urged.
|Children are pictured frolicking in a park in this file photo by Tuoi Tre.|
Deputy Phan Van Tuong, from the northern province of Thai Nguyen, called for closer analysis and measures to boost women’s engagement as NA and People’s Council deputies.
Ngan Phuong Loan, a deputy from the northern province of Lang Son, turned to another pressing issue.
“A large number of women, particularly those in rural areas, have to work overseas away from home. Illegal immigrants face risks of violence, labor exploitation, arrest and penalty by agencies in their adopted land,” she elaborated.
“Retirement ages for men and women should be the same, instead of a five-year difference as currently stipulated in the Labor Code. Women stand fewer chances of promotion over earlier retirement than their male counterparts,” deputy Chau Quynh Dao from the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang proposed.
Luu Binh Nhuong, a deputy from the southern province of Ben Tre, elaborated that though women’s earlier retirement was meant to allow them a more fulfilling old age, the rule has deterred many from further contributing.
“I suggest the revised Labor Code stipulate the same retirement age for both men and women, but women can choose to stop working early,” he urged.
Head of the Vietnam Women's Union Nguyen Thi Thu Ha acknowledged deeply ingrained gender prejudice in families and society has posed a sizeable hurdle to the cause of gender equality.
She stressed the vital role played by those tasked with improving gender equality, as well as revision and addition of policies and rules on gender fairness.
Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung promised to conduct further study and propose amendments to the central government and National Assembly.
“The government is set on further executing policies aimed at better gender equality and women development,” Minister Dung stressed.