Australian Embassy

Media Release - 24/11/2014

Australia reaffirms commitment to combating violence against women globally and promoting gender quality in Vietnam


Australia has zero tolerance for violence against women both domestically and internationally and is committed to supporting partner countries, including Vietnam to end violence against women and promote gender equality. On the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this year (25 November 2014), the Australian Embassy in partnership with the Institute for Social Development Studies is holding an exhibition and launching a booklet to raise the awareness of the increasing imbalanced sex ratio at birth and promoting gender equality in Vietnam.

Globally, more than one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by someone she knows, including her husband or another male family member. Australia views violence against women as a significant human rights violation which severely limits women’s social, economic and political participation in their communities, lowering productivity and causing losses to the economy.

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are priorities in the Australian Government’s foreign policy and overseas aid program” said Australian Ambassador H.E Mr Hugh Borrowman. “Australia’s new aid policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability identifies gender equality and empowering women and girls as a key investment priority and commits Australia to investing strongly in ending violence against women and girls, recognising that persistent challenges remain.”

Some 55 per cent of Australia’s aid program contributes to gender equality in some way, which in Vietnam equates to spending over AUD50 million a year on initiatives which advance gender equality.

As part of this support, the Australian Embassy in partnership with the Institute for Social Development Studies is holding a two-week exhibition “Tradition and Future” and launching a booklet on “Men’s stories: the pressure to have a son” at the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi on 25 November 2014. The exhibition and booklet feature photos, drawings and stories highlighting the deepening phenomenon of son preference, the societal pressures that lie behind this, and the consequences of a society where number of men far exceed that of women.

“A severely imbalanced sex ratio at birth could lead to negative consequences and more social instability in the future when women and men enter the age of marriage, including increased sexual abuse, violence, marriage migration and trafficking of women,” said Mr Hugh Borrowman.

A recent report shows that Vietnam’s national average male-female sex ratio at birth was 106 to 100 in 2000, but increased to 113 to 100 in 2013.

“I believe that the exhibition and the booklet will help Vietnamese communities develop a fairer view towards the issue of having sons and daughters and acknowledge the important roles and contributions of women and girls.”

In February this year, the Australian Government announced an additional AUD 2.1 million grant to help Vietnam combat gender-based violence through strengthening the delivery of services for women and children experiencing gender-based violence, including domestic violence and human trafficking.

Vietnam, among other countries in the region, is implementing a program that is funded by the Australian Government and implemented by UN Women and other partners, to mobilise community participation in the fight against violence against women and girls.

Australia is also partnering with UN Women to finance a country gender assessment for Vietnam, which will feed into the next State Economic and Development Plan. This will include a stocktake of the situation for women and girls against gender equality indicators in employment and education participation, analysis of the impact of economic and social security policies on the lives of women and girls, and develop policy recommendations relating to these issues.

For further information, please contact Ms Nguyen Thu Hang, Australian Embassy (Tel: 84-4 37740171 or email: [email protected]).