14.05.2016 - UNESCO Office in Hanoi

Museum staff acquire new knowledge and skills on gender equality and women’s empowerment


Ha Noi, 14 May 2016 – Key members and staff of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum (VWM) identify, discuss, and propose solutions for the enhancement of museum content and displays through knowledge and values of gender equality. The participatory workshop led by VWM with the technical assistance of UNESCO, trained participants on how to design educational content on gender equality and girls education using museum collections and data. This workshop was organized under the Ministry of Education and Training-UNESCO Gender Equality and Girls' Education Initiative in Viet Nam, funded by UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education.

The Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Viet Nam is one of the few museums fostering dialogue, curiosity and self-reflection by providing information on traditions, practices and presenting issues of social and contemporary life. Through the 1000 artefacts, relics, photos and documents, VWM showcases the important role of Viet Nam’s women both in the past and present.

To ensure the fair and equal representation of women in all of its content and displays, members and staff of the museum enhanced their knowledge on gender-related concepts during a training workshop on gender issues and girls education. Through trainings and participatory activities the 25 participants from varying departments of the museum, and volunteers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency were encouraged to challenge and question gender norms, stereotypes and beliefs.

Ms. Tran Thu Thuy, Gender Specialist, led the training workshop and facilitated discussions by familiarizing participants with key basic definitions and concepts related to gender equality. Building upon their knowledge, participants collaborated with each other to present position statements on controversial statements about the role of men and women in today’s society.

Following the first session of the training, participants were taken on a tour of the museum, allowing them to explore the varying thematic exhibitions on social anthropology and changes in contemporary society particularly that of ethnic minority groups, vulnerable women and disadvantaged children.

Based on the participant’s assessment and observations of the exhibitions and displays, recommendations and areas for development where discussed and presented. Staff members of the Museum expressed that despite being a Women’s Museum, it in fact presented a limited, one-sided perspective on the different aspects of women’s life by mainly focusing on marriage and child birth practices, lacking a gender perspective.

As it would be difficult to change the content of museum materials and information it was agreed upon that artefacts and exhibitions would be supplemented with additional information and displays, presenting a more extensive perspective on the role and position of women. Additionally, museum staff would reassess and evaluate the needs of target audiences and work towards raising awareness and challenging knowledge on sensitive topics such as abortion and adoption.

Ms. Nguyen Thị Bich Van, Director of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, voiced that the training had been successful with the active and enthusiastic participation of all participants. It was clear that museum staff had gained a clearer and more advanced understanding of gender equality and more importantly, its implications. This progress is one that will certainly contribute to the betterment of the museum in many aspects.

Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Nhung, UNESCO Gender Programme Manager, emphasized the importance of the training workshop as an opportunity to learn from and adjust to “an ever-changing world where women roles are evolving and progressing by the day.” Ms. Nhung further reinforced that UNESCO will continue to provide support towards the integration of gender equality as it is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for the creation of a sustainable and peaceful Viet Nam.


For more information, please contact Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Nhung, Gender Programme Manager, at tt.nhung(at)unesco.org

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