Better Business for Children

UNICEF is engaging the business community in Viet Nam to strengthen its knowledge, capacity and commitment to respect and support children’s rights as outlined in the Children’s Rights and Business Principles

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UNICEF Việt Nam\Trương Việt Hùng

The Challenge

In Viet Nam, women comprise the majority of workers in many of the country’s most important export industries, such as the apparel and footwear sector with 80 per cent of its 3.5 million workers being women aged 18-40 years. Commonly, a high percentage (80 per cent) of such workers are internal migrants, with more than half (60 per cent) also mothers, who move to big industrial zones in search of better economic opportunities.

“Businesses have direct impacts on children through policies and practices for workers.”

While industry provides women with stable jobs and important sources of income to support families and alleviate poverty, such opportunities can be undermined by negative impacts on the welfare of workers’ children. Many mothers and their children have limited access to health care, education and social protection services as well as face high living costs in urban areas, which infringe upon children’s rights and directly affect their daily lives.

The Solution

To address these challenges, UNICEF has targeted three key industries with potentially high impacts on children (footwear and apparel, information and communication technology as well as travel and tourism) to advocate for the inclusion of Children’s Rights and Business Principles within business operations and policies.

“By taking action, businesses can become new child rights advocates.”

This multi-stakeholder approach is already delivering results. A child rights in the workplace programme is being piloted in 11 factories with potential to reach 115,000 workers and their children, with a good practice guide to be shared with other factories.

To promote breastfeeding in the workplace, a 60 minutes working as a mum” campaign has been launched to ensure children continue to receive an essential source of nutrition when their mothers return to work with the support of employers. Evidence generation and data collection is also a priority, with an assessment of children’s rights in the footwear and apparel industry in southern Ho Chi Minh City identifying 10 impact areas for action. Going forward, we will continue to advocate for Children’s Rights and Business Principles to be a cornerstone of the business community in Viet Nam.


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UNICEF is partnering with private sector to launch a joint campaign “Sixty minutes working as a mom” to promote breastfeeding at the workplace. In collaboration with iCare Benefits, the campaign will be rolled out in Pou Yuen Viet Nam, the largest footwear factory in the country employing approximately 74,000 workers, 82 per cent of whom are women. Key messages address the common misunderstandings and barriers among factory workers relating to breastfeeding in the workplace. The campaign highlights how female workers can effectively use the 60-minute paid lactation breaks granted by the law for those raising children below 12 months of age.