“Young Women Making Change”- a group of young Vietnamese activists on gender equality

Friday, August 26, 2016 - 14:58:15

(VOVworld) - With the aim of erasing gender stereotypes in the community, 24 young Vietnamese formed a group called “Young women making change”. Receiving the support from some Vietnamese and international NGOs, the group has conducted a number of online and offline campaigns and projects on gender equality in Vietnam.

“Young Women Making Change” was initially the name of a project, supported by the  International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) in several Asian countries including Vietnam.  After the project concluded in 2015, the 24 young Vietnamese, however, continued with their activities on  gender equality in Vietnam.

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The group organizes training course on gender and the human rights of women. Photo: Y.Change's official FB 

On 7 May 2015, the group backed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) raised the issue of "Dating Violence" in its concluding recommendations to the Vietnamese government. The group conducted “Dating Violence”- an online survey-with support from the Research Center for Gender, Family and the Environment in Development (CGFED). Nguyễn Thị Hà Trang, fourth-year student at the English Department, at Hanoi University, one of the group’s active members, explained why they chose the topic of “Dating violence,” among other types of violence against women, as a survey topic. "Gender equality activist groups in Vietnam have not paid much attention to the issue of how young women suffer violence from their partners, but only care about domestic violence against married women. So, our group decided to conduct an online survey with the participation of 500 young heterosexual women aged 18-25 who are living in Hanoi. And the results showed that an alarming rate- 58% of participants- said they have had to bear at least one of six types of violence including emotional abuse, physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and violence through Information and Communications Technology (ICT), during their relationships."

After attending a training program themed “Communication for the Human Rights of Women,” held by several NGOs in Vietnam, the group had conducted another campaign called  “ Who’s gonna wash the dishes today?” in November last year. The main purpose of this campaign is to point out existing discrimination in society among men and women’s division of labor, and how unpaid work affects women’s advancement.

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Gender talks. Photo: Y.Change's official FB

That was a short clip from a video about the project’s results. Another group member, Dao Thuy Duong, a third-year student at the Faculty of Social Affairs at Hanoi National University of Education, said: “Who’s gonna wash the dishes today?” is an online project on the value of and responsibility for sharing housework. We believe that building awareness is the most important aspect of gender equality activities."

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A member of the group asked random people in the street a same question : "Who wash dishes in you family"?. Photo: Y.Change's official FB

The group’s name, “Young Women Making Change” does not mean that it only includes young women. In fact, it also includes men. Luu Xuan Quy, fourth-year student at the Hanoi School of Public Health, one of the group’s male members, said: "At the beginning, some other men in the group and I questioned the name “Young Women Making Change.”We even suggested finding another the name. But later on, we found our operational procedures were very equitable and fair to all group members, so the name is no longer important."

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The group's members are brainstorming at a cafe. Photo: Y.Change's official FB 

The group’s activities have received positive response, especially from young people. Two young Vietnamese rappers - Lil Shady and Youngstar- supported the campaign by composing a song entitled “Who’s gonna wash the dishes today? .

The group is currently conducting a training course on reproductive health for female workers at several factories and companies in Nam Dinh Province, where the majority of employees are female. This course was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).