Vietnam’s gender equality above its neighbours’, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity Vietnam seats slightly above the East Asia & the Pacific average, and in better conditions that all of its neighbours.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, published by Social Watch on the eve of Women’s International Day, March 8.

The index prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education, the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. In the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

Vietnam’s 70 points rank it among those countries with LOW GEI, one point above the East Asia & Pacific’s average, which stands at 69. All of its neighbours (China, Lao PDR and Cambodia) are in worse condition, with 64, 56 and 55 points respectively.

The region is led by New Zealand (82), Mongolia (81) and Australia (80). The countries in worst situation are Lao PDR, Malaysia (both with 56 points) and Cambodia (55).

The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE, It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

The only dimension in which Vietnam reaches an ACCEPTABLE value is education (95 points), while in empowerment and economic participation the country’s performance is much less praiseworthy: 41 and 75 respectively (VERY LOW and LOW).

At a world level, the countries that have achieved the better scores are Norway (89), Finland (88), and Iceland (87), which place them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the 154 countries computed by the 2012 GEI those five in the worst global situation are Congo Rep (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology and sources see