Strengthening capacity of government agencies in integrating gender equality in the development of legal normative documents

  1. Promoting gender equality (40% of marks)
    Which objectives and results has your initiative achieved?
    Describe the context, the organisational unit, the sector or the situation in your country or region. Tell us which approaches have proven effective, which results have already been generated and which specific impacts you expect in the short, medium and long term.

Vietnam has undergone a major socio-economic transformation in the past 30 years, from one of the poorest countries in the world to a lower middle-income country in 2011. Vietnam has also made a substantial progress on key gender equality measures with little difference between male and female poverty rate, gender parity in universal education of primary and lower primary education but gender inequality remains challenging. Vietnamese women are confronting with different challenges fueled by lack of political and economic opportunities, inequality, and discrimination. One of the main root causes for this is the policy gaps and weak law enforcement. In particular, the Law on Gender Equality 2006 clearly stipulates the requirement of gender mainstreaming in development of legal normative documents. Furthermore, gender mainstreaming is one of principles for formulation and promulgation of legal documents, regulated by the Law on Promulgation of Legislative Documents (2015). This law stipulates to conduct a gender impact assessment, if any, on a basis of analysis and anticipation of socio-economic impacts when preparing proposed legal normative documents. In reality, the quality of gender mainstreaming in policy making and implementation process is limited due to lack of accountability mechanism, inappropriate methodology poor evidence-based proposals and also unawareness of substantive gender equality concept of law makers and government officials.

The purpose of the project “Social Dimension of Sustainable Green Growth in Vietnam” is to support the Ministry of
Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and relevant sector ministries to better perform their roles to integrate social aspects into policies and strategies in the context of Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy and Green-Growth Strategy. In term of gender equality in particular, it aims to provide technical assistance to enhance the know-how of mainstreaming gender equality in development of legal normative documents for Vietnamese government officers.

The project has been applying some key interventions:

Training workshop on legal framework on Social Impact Assessment & Gender Impact Assessment
  • Building capacity: A group of trainers, selected from training and research institutes of MoLISA and relevant sector ministries, was formed. They were not only provided with knowledge on the promulgation process of legal normative documents but also equipped with training of trainers (TOT) skills, methodologies to conduct Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Gender Impact Assessment (GIA) through a series of training workshops, networking as well as thematic technical meetings.
  • Developing technical guideline and checklist: Together with capacity building on SIA/GIA, project supported government partners to develop technical materials on how to conduct SIA/GIA in Viet Nam, which include checklist and reference list on both social impact assessment and gender mainstreaming, a guideline on gender mainstreaming in the development of legal normative documents. These materials will be useful tools for legal officials at both national and provincial levels to integrate aspects of social inclusiveness and gender equality in the policy making process effectively.
Field survey of the Gender Impact Assessment for draft decree concerning female workers and promoting gender equality to be conducted in 4 provinces.
  • Supporting government partners to conduct gender studies for policy development: A number of gender related studies have been conducted with the assistance provided by GIZ Social Dimension project:
    • » As invited by MoLISA, project joined forces with UNWOMEN, CARE, SUN CSA Viet Nam network* to support the ministry to conduct a gender impact assessment for the draft decree concerning female employees and promoting gender equality. Project also provided technical assistance for MoLISA to carry out the social and gender impact assessment for (i) draft decree regulating representative organisations of employees and collective bargaining, which provide the guidance on the implementation of the revised Labour Code 2019; (ii) a policy option of extending compulsory social insurance for people working in non agricultural cooperatives for upcoming revision of Insurance Law.
    • » In response to request for technical assistance to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the project support to conduct of a study on gender review of implementation of Biodiversity Law, and a social and gender impact assessment for a chapter of Biodiversity in the revision of Law on Environment Protection.
    • » More importantly, the project cooperated with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to conduct a study on social and gender gaps in the National Green Growth Strategy 2012-2020. Findings from these studies have contributed to enhance the quality of integrating gender and social aspects in high level legal documents (the National Strategy for the period 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050).
    • » On one hand, assistance given in conducting gender related studies contributed to strengthen the capacities of policy drafters through their close engagements in developing the research plan and methodology as well as the collection of comments and feedback on draft reports from various stakeholders. On the other hand, conducting the field surveys to collect data and opinions from grassroot level could be considered as a measure taken to promote participatory and evidence-based policy making process.
  • Support government partners to establish and operate an inter-ministries taskforce on Social Impact Assessment and gender mainstreaming in policy development: With support from the project, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), together with MoLISA, has introduced the inter-agency taskforce to collaborate with legal officials from 11 ministries and ministry-level agencies, such as the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD), MONRE, the Ministry of Health, and the Committee of Ethnic Minorities. The taskforce formation was expected to be a platform for members to discuss and exchange with each other about social integration and gender mainstreaming in the policy making and implementation process more regularly and effectively.


  • Some initial results have been achieved: A well-trained group of SIA & GIA practitioners: Selected ToT trainers were confident to deliver three rolling training courses on SIA and gender mainstreaming in policy making process at local level for nearly 100 provincial officials from July to September 2020 in 9 provinces. An additional course has been organized in September 2021 using the virtual format for 41 participants from 15 provinces.
  • Adoption of technical guidelines and manuals: Encouragingly, MoJ has published a reference list of SIA & GIA in agriculture sector, and the framework on SIA & GIA for ministries and agencies as guiding tools for policy review on their ministries’ websites. Besides, project has been working with MoLISA to complete procedures for publishing all guiding materials on SIA & GIA on MoLISA website before project closing.
  • Policy recommendations from gender studies were taken into consideration: For instance, recommendations related to enhanced regulations on nursing rooms, bathrooms and rest rooms for both female and male workers from the Gender Impact Assessment were taken in the development of the decree concerning female employees and promoting gender equality. Besides, some recommendations for integrating social and gender factors were considered in the newly approved National Green Growth Strategy for the period 2021- 2030 with a vision to 2050.
  • Smooth cooperation among taskforce members: The taskforce meetings have been organized on a regular basis to discuss topics related to SIAs & GIAs. Currently, members have also been jointly developing and adopting standards for SIA & GIA. Hopefully, this kind of cooperation and upscaling can continue in the future without further interventions from the project.
SEAH standee was displayed at the Legal Department office of Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs

2. Gender as a quality feature of our work (20% of marks) Our gender-differentiated approach and unfailing commitment to equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, are among the values GIZ upholds as an actor, partner and service provider for sustainable development. Is or has your work in the field of gender been particularly acknowledged by your clients, partners and commissioning parties? How is that reflected or shown?

Project’s technical assistance to enhance the know-how of mainstreaming gender equality in development of legal normative documents for Vietnamese government officers has been recognized by partners and development organizations in different ways. For example, government partners often posted a news related to cooperation activities with GIZ on their websites, newspaper, TV (e.g. training course on SIA/GIA; training course on policy debate and SIA/GIA; ceremony to hand over the book on SIA/GIA. Results of field survey of GIA for draft decree concerning gender equality and female employees, a joint force among 4 GIZ, UNWOMEN and other NGOs, was highlighted in the Op-ed of Informal Ambassadors and Heads of Agencies Gender Policy Coordination Group). Encouragingly, MoLISA Legal Department has no hesitance in displaying GIZ’s standee on anti-sexual harassment in the workplace at the front door of their office in the hallway of the ministry.

3. Gender and result-based monitoring (20% of marks)
Are the contributions to enhancing gender equality and reducing gender-based discrimination and disadvantages documented in the project? Are the results in the area of gender equality an integral part of the monitoring and evaluation system and systematically recorded and/or reflected in an evaluation report? Are the mechanisms for measuring results clearly documented?

Project evaluation is on progress and gender mainstreaming in project operation is one of evaluation topics. Besides, project activities, including gender mainstreaming ones, have been recorded timely in the project M&E system.

4. Cooperation (20% of marks)
Gender equality cannot be achieved by individuals alone. It is a joint task – how did you go about it? Who did you cooperate with: colleagues, partners, donors, civil society representatives, etc.? What united you in all your efforts to enhance gender equality (shared or same goals, strategies, international or other obligations and requirements, etc.)? What were the major challenges you encountered indivi[1]dually or together? What were the three key success factors?

Project activities of enhancing the know-how of main[1]streaming gender equality in development of legal normative documents have been successfully implemented due to fruitful cooperation with government partners and relevant stakeholders (legal departments of ministries, research institutes and NGOs).The cooperation is based on practical needs of government partners in enhancing gender mainstreaming capacity; available research capacity of research institutes; and shared strategies of enhancing the quality of gender mainstreaming in legal documents with NGOs.

Key challenge:

  • Liking project activities with professional tasks of government partners: As mentioned above, gender mainstreaming in the development of legal normative documents has been determined by laws as a compulsory task for all policy makers. Therefore, project activities contribute to assist them in better accomplishing their professional tasks rather than creating burden or workload for them. This is a key influencing point in partnership with these actors.
  • Promoting the crucial coordinating roles of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Ministry of Labour Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA). In Vietnam’s policy making process, MoJ is a “gate keeper” in appraising all legislations to be developed while MoLISA is in charge of assessing gender equality integration in the legal document compilation. Therefore, the formulation of inter-ministries taskforce is an entry point for both ministries to perform their roles of coordinating and guiding other ministries to ensure the sound gender mainstreaming in the policy making and implementation process.
  • Connecting experts in legislation development and gender equality: Gender mainstreaming in the development of legal normative documents requires the expertise in both legislation development and gender equality in Viet Nam. Therefore, in order to conduct training workshops, develop technical gender mainstreaming guidelines and manuals, and conduct gender studies for policy development, the projects contracted with both legal experts and gender experts who worked together to carry out the assigned tasks.