Reports & Analysis
New Study: Increasing Women's Involvement in Viet Nam's Forest Institutions
The study commissioned by the UN-REDD Programme recommends ways to strengthen gender equality and women's participation in REDD+ in the newly-signed UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme.
In Viet Nam, the participation of women in male-dominated forestry institutions is increasing. For example, in Lam Dong Province, a pilot province for Phase I of the UN-REDD Programme, the share of female government staff at the provincial level has reached 31.5 per cent. To further this trend, a study commissioned by the UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam recommends how to strengthen gender equality and women’s participation in REDD+ in the newly-signed UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme.
Higher representation of women in decision-making bodies is important, but far from enough. Findings from Lam Dong Province reveal a tendency to report on the number of female staff without much attention to the importance of strengthening their skills and capacity, especially in remote areas and within ethnic minorities. The study reports that women employed in the government offices are often assigned to tasks considered “suitable” for women because they do not demand a high-level of expertise. Furthermore, there is no plan to train or promote existing female staff to leadership positions. To fight this pattern and to promote women’s positions within forestry institutions, the study recommends targeting men for awareness-raising on the benefits of women’s involvement.
Women are driving the promotion of gender mainstreaming, with little involvement of men. Gender equality in the workplace is perceived as being a women’s issue. Women’s organizations, such as the Women’s Union, are driving the promotion of gender mainstreaming in Viet Nam. “Gender workshops” gather women only, and gender action plans do not mention men. Where do then men belong? The study recommends training for women, too, in understanding that men must be made part of the effort.
In the course of the next two and a half years, the UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam will work to promote the active engagement of both men and women in REDD+. A first step will be the design of a sector wide Gender Action Plan for the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry in late 2013.