Critical Insights into Gender Mainstreaming in Non-Governmental Organizations Based in Vietnam
In Vietnam, Confucian doctrine has traditionally influenced gender issues. Although, the determination of Government has brought about considerable improvements in gender equality in society, there remains a need for interventions from a variety of stakeholders including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Recently, both International NGOs (INGOs) and Local NGOs (LNGOs) have increased in scope, size, and resources to address development issues in general and gender issues in particular in the specific context of Vietnam. They all play a pivotal role in delivering services and advocacy in an effort to enable Vietnamese people to live in a society of justice and well-being. However, there continues to be a gap between the rhetoric and practice of these organizations for both internal and external reasons. This research analyses the process of integrating gender into an INGO and an LNGO’s policies and development projects drawing on semi-structured interviews with staff in these organizations. The study explores the extent to which these NGOs use gender mainstreaming as a tool to achieve the goal of gender equality in their own organization and project sites. What challenges and opportunities for each organization exist? The findings indicate that in reference to gender mainstreaming, these NGOs, more or less, have encountered a series of common obstacles found in literature from other parts of the world. They also highlight the importance of the approach to gender work taken by NGOs. Each approach must be based on the specific conditions and characteristics of each organization and more importantly adaptable to the context, culture, and traditions of Vietnam. As a part of gender mainstreaming, NGOs are starting to pay attention to the work/home divides of their staff as a critically important element in organizational culture aiming to get the organization in order first before integrating gender into other dimensions of their development work. Both NGOs have the strong determination to have more male staff in office and involve more men in projects to address gender issues. Furthermore, the lack of openness and dialogue on implementing gender mainstreaming in the NGO community makes a part of the findings. These particular aspects of organisational practice were highlights of this thesis.