Vietnam has been improving on its Commitment to Reducing the Inequality Index (CRII) within ASEAN, coming second within the bloc and ranking 77th out of 158 countries this year globally, according to Oxfam’s CRII.
The index ranks 158 governments on their policies on public services, tax, and workers’ rights – three areas pivotal to reducing inequality and weathering the COVID-19 storm. It has been launched ahead of the World Bank’s and International Monetary Fund’s virtual annual meetings this week.
Vietnam has been acknowledged for its measures to limit poverty and inequality, as well as a plan on providing financial relief of $2.7 billion for 20 million vulnerable people and paying workers whose contracts were suspended a monthly allowance of VND1.8 million ($78) amid the pandemic.
However, the health crisis has dealt a heavy blow to the livelihoods of rural communities, especially affecting women as shown by an EmPower project study in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, UN Women, and the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency.
According to the study – which was undertaken in Lao Cai, Bac Kan, An Giang, Dac Lak, and the Mekong Delta – “an overwhelming majority, 87 per cent, of the women reported a decline in incomes resulting from the crisis, with growing concerns of rising unemployment and declining demand for products even after the crisis.” It added that approximately 43 per cent of the women are primary earners in their household, with an average income of $7 per day with a wide range spanning from $2.15 to $25.75.
The study suggested several solutions, such as prioritising green jobs for women, establishing institutional frameworks, and organise training to mobilise capital and resources for recovery and empowerment.