Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Ninety years ago, the VWU was formed amidst the struggle for national liberation under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh. Looking back over the history of the country, every period is imprinted with great contributions of Vietnamese women to the national construction. In the Resolution of the first Party Central Committee (October 193), the Party affirmed: “Women’s revolutionary force is a very important force. If women in general did not participate in revolutionary struggles, the revolution could not be a success. The Party needs form women’s organisations with the purpose of seeking rights and benefits to women and completely liberating women”. Since then, the first women’s precursors organisations (such as: the Liberated Women’s Union; the Democratic Women’s Union; the Counter-Emperor Women’s Union; and the Women’s National Salvation Committee) opened the door to the formation and development of the VWU.
The country’s renewal cause has opened great opportunities for the development of the VWU and women’s movements. The union continued to confirm its contributions through its thorough grasp of socio-economic tasks. The women’s unions at all levels promptly cared and addressed problems in accordance with the members’ legitimate needs and aspirations. Accordingly, major programmes, emulation movements and campaigns have been launched and implemented. Therefore, many movements including: “Women help each other develop family economy and feed children well, contributing to preventing malnourishment among children and the situation of children dropping out of school”; “Women help each other develop family economy and build the country with industry and thrift”; “Saving day for poor women”; “Supporting women to create jobs and improve incomes”, and “Building loving homes”, have received the enthusiastic response from women across the country.
These achievements are thanks to the Party’s and State’s trust and proper assessment of the role and abilities of women, especially the VWU in gathering and building a great solidarity of women’s forces for the country’s revolutionary cause and sustainable development. The union has developed continuously and become a strong socio-political organisation, mobilising women from all strata to actively participate in the cause of national construction and defence. The development of the VWU and the proud achievements of the women’s movements over the past 90 years were also due to the efforts made by officials, members and women in all generations as well as the results of the effective coordination and support from the agencies around the country.
However, Vietnamese women today are still facing many challenges. The material and spiritual lives of members and women are still difficult. The proportion of rural female workers receiving vocational training is low. The competitiveness of several enterprises that are owned and managed by women is not high. The proportion of female managers and leaders have not met the set targets and are not commensurate with the female labour force. Violence against women and girls has tended to increase. The work of grasping feelings and aspirations of members and women sometimes has not been proper in several places. Many unions have not been active in fiercely fighting against the acts of abuse to the body and dignity of women and children. The qualifications of women’s unions and their capacity in detecting, criticising social issues and proposing policies remains limited. The innovation of the contents and methods of operation of the VWU is slow.
The current international and domestic situation is posing many opportunities and challenges. The fourth industrial revolution has had a comprehensive and far-reaching impact on all fields, directly affecting the women as well as the activities of the VWU. That fact requires the union to continue to renovate its operation while proactively making proposals on the work of women, female officials and gender equality to the Party and State, in line with the country’s development stage. The women’s unions at all levels should further launch patriotic emulation congresses to best bring into play the potentials and creativity of women from all strata, contributing to fulfilling the mission of socio-economic development, maintaining the security and defence, building the cleaner and stronger Party and government. In the immediate future, it is crucial to focus on proactively and actively introducing qualified female officials to participate in the candidacy for the 14th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the term 2021-2026. The VWU then needs to direct and carefully prepare the women’s congresses at all levels in 2021 and the 13th Women’s Congress in 2022.
In the new stage, with the pride of glorious history of the VWU as well as the aspirations of devoting, spirit of innovation and creativity and confidence in integration, female officials and women always keep full faith in the Party and President Ho Chi Minh to continue to strive and uphold the tradition, being worthy of the previous generations. The women’s unions at all levels should fulfil the mission of “solidarity and gathering women from all strata for the happiness of women and the prosperity of the country”. The VWU will continue to affirm its position as a pioneer organisation for the equality and development of women and those caring for and protecting the legal and legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese women.