Vietnam: Le Thi Quy

I hope that every woman enjoys equity and the opportunity to develop as men do, and that no women endure domestic violence, prostitution and human trafficking.

— Le Thi Quy

Le Thi Quy, born in 1950 in Hanoi, is a sociologist and Director of the Center for Gender and Development Research, Hanoi University. After graduating from the History Department of Hanoi University, she earned her PhD in Russia, did pioneering research on issues related to families and women, and she is the first Vietnamese lecturer on gender issues in Vietnam. Government has used her research to develop social policies. She founded "returned women" - groups that have helped 53 women victims of trafficking overcome practical difficulties and integrate into the community.

Researching gender issues, particularly prostitution, domestic violence and women-trafficking, Le Thi Quy realized that these are urgent social problems rooted in poverty and domestic violence, which government and society should look at more realistically. It distresses her that punishment is imposed on prostitutes, while no action is taken against sex-buyers. She has therefore worked to direct the public’s attention to the difficulties that these unfortunate women undergo, and to change the public’s negative attitude towards them. Her goal is to create a better society, where women do not become victims of prostitution, human-trafficking and domestic violence. Among her allies in this struggle for the emancipation of women in Vietnam are sociologists and agencies such as the Commission for Social Affairs of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Vietnam Women’s Union and the National Committee for the Advancement of Women. The government has since put the results of her research on women and domestic violence in Vietnam into practice. Le Thi Quy has written five books and co-authored 32 others on prostitution, domestic violence and women-trafficking that have attracted the attention of both Vietnamese and foreign readers. She says, "I have worked very hard, but I am happy and satisfied with my job because my work is very useful to many women. As a sociologist, I am happy that my research results have been put into practice."

Center for Gender and Development Research, Hanoi University