Australian Embassy

Media Release - 08/3/2013

Australia calls for an end to violence against women and reaffirms gender equality commitment


On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2013, the Australian Government has called for an end to violence against women and reaffirmed its commitment to advance gender equality both domestically and internationally.

“This International Women’s Day, Australia adds its voice to the global call for an end to violence against women and girls - in all its forms and wherever it occurs: in the home, in the workplace, in schools and universities, in situations of conflict,” said Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

The Minister stressed that there is no more important building block for the empowerment of women and girls than the elimination of violence.

Australia has made practical contributions to combat violence against women and to advance gender equality in Vietnam. Australia’s major contributions include helping Vietnam draft a new gender equality law in 2005-06, supporting the integration of gender equality goals in Vietnam’s Socio-economic Development Plan for 2011-15, establishing models to improve access to legal information and services for women and, helping Vietnam undertake its 2011 Country Gender Assessment (in collaboration with the World Bank). Notably, in 2012, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in Vietnam released a Gender Action Plan which articulates how and what Australia will do to support Vietnam’s national gender equality objectives through the aid program.

Australia has supported Vietnamese women to access higher education, vocational training, markets, clean water and sanitation. The Australia Awards Program has increased women’s participation in higher education and their voice in decision making and leadership. In 2012, around 55 per cent of the 250 Australian scholarships in Vietnam went to women.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Hugh Borrowman said: “In Vietnamwe have identified gender equality as a critical cross-cutting theme across our aid program. We believe that gender equality is central to economic and human development and to supporting women’s rights.”

“Over the last 40 years, Vietnam and Australia have developed close and effective relations in many areas. I hope that the two sides will continue to cooperate in the fight against gender inequality, empowering women and girls and giving them opportunities to reach their full potential”.

Australia is among Vietnam’s 10 largest development cooperation partners, providing AUD $134.4 million to Vietnam in ODA for the 2012-2013 financial year.

Violence against women, a fundamental violation of women’s rights, remains widespread and affects women from all nations and all backgrounds. According to UN Women Australia, one in three women worldwide is likely to experience physical violence at some point in their lives. One in five women is a victim of sexual violence in their lifetime.

As a persistent advocate and practical supporter of gender equality, Australia has been striving for a world in which women and girls can live in dignity, free of violence and coercion. In the past year alone, Australia has launched new initiatives in Afghanistan, the Pacific, Indonesia and Cambodia to combat violence against women.

For further information, please contact Ms Vu Binh Chau, Media Officer, Australian Embassy in Hanoi (phone: 04 3774 0216, mobile: 0166 561 0149, email: [email protected]).