The politics of gender and social protection in Viet Nam: opportunities and challenges for a transformative approach

Working and discussion papers
May 2012
Nicola Jones, Tran Thi Van Anh and Agnieszka Malachowska
This Background Note reviews the extent to which Viet Nam’s social protection strategies and programmes are addressing gender inequities, with a particular focus on the political economy dynamics of implementation at the sub-national level.

It finds that action needs to be informed by an understanding of the institutional blockages, actor interests and incentive structures, as well as the political and cultural ideas underpinning current approaches to poverty reduction and social protection, and the ways in which gender power relations permeate each of these domains, and lays out five policy and practice implications:

1. Promote strong leadership and improved coordination mechanisms, including among those involved in the roll-out of gender equality legislation.
2. Foster more decentralised models of social protection programming and budgeting processes.
3. Prioritise investment in improved human resources deployed to tackle poverty and vulnerability, including a focus on regular, adequately tailored and sufficiently detailed capacity strengthening on gender equity issues for staff at all levels.
4. Support the development of clear and tailored implementation directives and guidelines.
5. Strengthen information management, monitoring and evaluation systems.