Sunday, March 7, 2010

International Women's Day


All over Vietnam, women are celebrated on International Women's Day, with flowers, parties, recognition events, and this year it seems that the schools are even closed!

Women are acknowledged for their heroism during the wars, for their support of and involvement with the Party, their steadfast custody of the family and their business acumen. These public displays fill one with hope that the discrimination, abuse and inequities are on the wain, but we are not that convinced. Acquaintances here, who have long careers of service in Vietnam, pinpoint women's issues as pivotal in the development of this country. They feel that until there are radical changes in attitude towards women, there will not be progress. Spousal abuse is rampant, pay inequities are common, women and children's health issues receive no funding.

Yet again, what you see is not what you get in Vietnam. The gloss of TV and newspaper coverage in the large cities can not fully disquise the hunger, poverty and hardship of too many women in this culture, particularly among villagers, ethnic minorities and the disabled.

Today however the female contingent at Reaching Out were honored for their courage and accomplishments. With the support of this social enterprise, they have become beacons of hope for their disadvantaged sisters.
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