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
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.
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.