Dr. Kate Frieson's mission to Vietnam

Megan Catalano

Associate faculty and researcher in the Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding program Dr. Kate Frieson is leading and supporting the Mid-Term Review of UN Women Viet Nam’s Strategic Note 2014-2016 and recently completed a three week mission to Hanoi.

UN Women's focus in Vietnam is as advocate and coordinator with other UN agencies in pioneering Green One United Nations House, the first of its kind in the world where ecology and integrated programming of the United Nations means gender mainstreaming occurs across programs and staff sit according to thematic area of work rather than function. UN Women works closely with its long time partners in the government and with community and social organizations to advance women's political and economic empowerment.  

Dr. Frieson’s mission included 10 days of interviews with officials in the ministries of justice, finance, labour, invalids and social affairs and rural development as well as with the Vietnam Women's Union, women's rights NGOs and the Australian and Canadian Embassies. She also met with the Green One United Nations House resident coordinator to discuss the merits of conducting research on the success of Vietnam as a post-conflict state reaching lower middle income status in record time, and relatively free of conflict seen in neighboring Southeast Asian states in the same development pathway such as Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Prospects for developing this research collaboratively between RRU and Vietnam tertiary institutions are currently underway.  

Dr. Frieson is also conducting research on the role of women in Vietnam's political life and conducted some interviews for her research with scholars from the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics where she has worked in the past as an expert in feminism and political philosophy. Dr. Frieson's expertise in policy analysis across multiple sectors at high levels, combined with her two decades of Southeast Asian-based field work in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and previous work with UN Women and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in the development of Vietnam's National Strategy for Gender Equality, 2011-2020 are reasons why UN Women asked Dr. Frieson to undertake this mission to Vietnam.  

Dr. Frieson will be writing and presenting three short discussion papers and one report for UN Women Viet Nam in September that will provide policy and programming advice on the relevance of forging new strategic directions for gender equity programming that respond to needs expressed by Vietnamese leaders and United Nations official.  

Based on her interactions with community based organizations and Vietnamese government and UN and diplomatic community members, Dr. Frieson believes the following future directions are important: gender responsive community-led models of climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention and management; engagement of youth and social media in combatting gender based violence; and the gendered impacts of the future marketization of social services, especially in tertiary education and health care.

For more information on the Green One United Nations House initiatives, visit the UN website.

You can also visit the UN website for more information about UN Women, Vietnam.