Le Duan

Some Present Tasks

Role and Tasks of the Vietnamese Woman in the New Revolutionary Stage[1]


Our people have just gone through extremely critical yet very glorious months and years which will be vividly remembered in the history of our nation. For nearly 20 years, after the great victory of the resistance to the French colonialists, our people have waged another life-and-death struggle against US imperialism, the chieftain of imperialism, the number one enemy of mankind. In this confrontation, in the spirit of “nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”, the entire Vietnamese people, from the front to the rear, in both the South and the North, without distinction as to age and sex, have risen up as one man, ready to accept all hardships and sacrifices, and have devoted all their forces and capacities to the cause of national liberation and defence of the Fatherland. We have foiled the biggest and most brutal war of aggression ever conducted in the history of the US imperialists, compelling them to withdraw their troops and recognize the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of our country. We have preserved and increased the forces of the North in all respects under a rain of millions of enemy bombs and shells, and continued to take the North steadily forward on the path of socialism. Our struggle has made a worthy contribution to the common struggle of the world working class and peoples for peace, national independence, democracy and socialism.

To this great cause, the Vietnamese women have made a considerable contribution; worthy of admiration and pride. Ardent patriotism and undauntedness have for thousands of years been a prominent tradition of Vietnamese women, ever since our ancestors began founding our nation. This precious tradition, nurtured and promoted by our Party and our beloved Ho Chi Minh, found its fullest and most brilliant expression in the period of anti-US struggle for national salvation.

As the saying goes, “When the aggressors come even women should take up arms.” That is perfectly true! To defend our Fatherland against the US imperialists, the Vietnamese women took up arms to directly participate in the fighting and have become dauntless combatants, heroines, valiant fighters and outstanding military commanders.

In the epic tableau of the people’s war in the North, our women are ever present, intrepid and undaunted daughters of the country who stoutheartedly fought to the end to defend the country and their dear ones. Numerous militia-women units, all-women anti-aircraft platoons more than once brought down US aircraft, captured US pilots, set US warships afire, bravely protecting their native villages. Tens of thousands of girls, trudging day and night on all the roads of the country and defying enemy fire, de-activated time-bombs, repaired bridges and roads and kept communications open in the service of the front. Hosts of wives and mothers imbued with love of their country and their homes encouraged and exhorted their husbands and sons to go to the front. How many others gave their dearest ones to the Fatherland! With the “three responsibilities” movement, a surging revolutionary movement responding in time to the imperative demands of the resistance, our women shouldered the very important and heavy task of building and consolidating the great socialist rear. Constantly supplying the front with material means and moral encouragement, braving bombs and shells, scorning the inclemencies of the weather, our women stuck to the fields and the factories to ensure production in all circumstances, upholding the tradition of heroism and industriousness of the Vietnamese women. Each grain of paddy sent to the front is imbued with the “three responsibilities” spirit of our women in the rear, with their profound feelings of affection, their sweat and even their blood. The might of the socialist North, the revolutionary base of the entire country, is, in large measure, drawn from the strength of our women rising up to be masters of society, of the country.

Our Party and State highly appreciate the efforts and achievements of our women in the national democratic revolution as well as in socialist revolution, in production as well as in fighting. The patriotism, valiant fighting spirit, devotion, self-sacrifice, self- abnegation, resourcefulness and creativeness of the heroines Nguyen Thi Suot, Nguyen Thi Hanh, Vu Thi Nham, Dao Thi Hao, Nguyen Thi Song, La Thi Tam and many other women are brilliant manifestations of Vietnamese revolutionary heroism. The heroic, undaunted, loyal and capable Vietnamese women are one of the finest images of the Vietnamese of our generation.


In the old society, women were those who suffered most, and who were most oppressed. Therefore they were highly responsive to the revolution, and constitute a great force of the people. No revolutionary campaign can succeed without the participation of women. The socialist revolution, the most profound thorough and all-sided revolution in the history of mankind, is all the more unimaginable without the active participation of women. Lenin once said, “If women are not drawn into public service, into the militia, into political life, if women are not torn out of their stupefying house and kitchen environment, it will be impossible to guarantee real freedom, it will be impossible to build even democracy, let alone socialism.” [2]

The emancipation of women must be associated with national liberation and the liberation of the working class. If the nation and the working class are not liberated, the women will not be liberated. Yet, if the women are not emancipated and do not yet share the role of masters of the country, the nation as well as the working class are not really liberated. A society cannot be considered civilized and advanced if women are still dependent and do not enjoy freedom. The extent to which women are masters of society is a yardstick of the development and progress of a society, because women were those who endured the greatest injustice in the old society. As President Ho Chi Minh has put it, “If the women are not emancipated, socialism is only half established.” But it is only socialist revolution and the cause of socialist construction that can create all necessary conditions, economic and social, material and spiritual, for the total emancipation of women and the achievement of equality between men and women in every field, provide women with a decent position in society, bring into full play their ability and energy to serve society, and at the same time ensure them a happy family life. That is why, more than anybody else, women cherish revolution and socialism.

As an integral part of the revolutionary movement, the emancipation of women can only be carried out step by step along with-the common victories of the revolution: The glorious victory of the August 1945 Revolution, the great victories of the two heroic wars of resistance against imperialist aggressors, the great achievement of the land reform, of socialist transformation and initial socialist construction constitute big leaps forward for the Vietnamese revolution and at the same time big leaps forward in women’s life, fundamentally changing women’s position in society. Freed from all social injustices and the bonds of feudalism, the Vietnamese women of today, from the status of slaves most heavily oppressed and down- trodden, have become the collective masters of society and the State.

These great changes in practical life have been recognized by law in the democratic republican regime. The constitution of our country, as well as many laws of the State, specify equal rights in every respect for women, confirm women’s rights in all spheres of social activity as well as in marriage and in the family. The Party, the State, the women’s and youth organizations and the trade unions give due consideration to the work of raising the political consciousness, and the scientific and technical levels of women, help them with their family problems and constantly promote the role of women in production and in the management of the State. The force and capacity of women which our Party, Government and regime seek actively to encourage, foster and promote, have become a big source of strength, and an extremely important guarantee for the successful fulfilment of every revolutionary task. The achievements and progress of the women’s movement in the past few years represent a great success of our Party in mass mobilization and also an outstanding achievement of the Viet Nam Women’s Union.

However, we cannot be content with the achievements recorded so far in the mobilization of women. Although women in our country have made greater advances than ever before and become masters of society and of the State, they have not brought into play all their capacities, since they still meet with many difficulties in terms of working conditions, educational and vocational standards and family burdens. The labour force of women is very abundant, but it is not reasonably distributed and employed. The root cause of this situation lies in the fact that our country has for many years been engaged in war against imperialism, especially US imperialism and hence has had neither conditions nor time to concentrate its efforts on developing its economy and large- scale socialist production to serve as a basis for the new regime and make it possible to step up the emancipation of women. The other important cause is that in our society there still exist not quite correct conceptions concerning the relationship between family and society, the responsibilities of a woman toward society and her family, and those of society towards every family, every woman, every mother and every wife. Among the people, and even among the cadres, there are still remnants of backward feudalistic ideas such as paying more consideration to men than women, not duly respecting and protecting the legitimate rights of women, not setting out to free women from “family slavery”, and, worse still, the committing of brutal and inhuman acts on women. Such a situation prevents the implementation, even in the present socio-economic conditions, of the policies, rules and regulations aimed at raising the role and position of women in society. It requires us to work even harder in many respects to fully realize equality between men and women and emancipate the women.

So, what does the question of women’s emancipation and the achievement of equality between men and women imply in the present stage of the socialist revolution in North Viet Nam? It is clear that after the decisive victories of socialist transformation and the establishment of new relations of production, the principal content of the struggle for the emancipation of women is mainly a struggle against economic poverty, against the backward and wrong conceptions of the old society with regard to women. It is mainly to achieve an ever wider participation by women in the management of society and production in line with their characteristics and capacities. It is to reduce the burden of housework by means of rational reorganization of their life; it is to work actively to raise women’s political, educational, scientific and technical standards. Thus, in the socialist revolution, to emancipate women is in essence to ensure their fullest participation as collective masters in all three respects: to be masters of society, to be masters of nature and to be masters of themselves. This is the content of the struggle for the emancipation of the women in the period of transition to socialism.

It is only in the socialist regime that everyone is master; this is a wholly new regime in history, which can emancipate not only the whole of society but also every family, bringing about a new life both for society and for each family, and harmoniously combining the interests and well-being of society with those of every family. Furthermore, not only does the regime of collective mastery promote women to the rank of masters of society and of the State, it also creates conditions for them to master nature and themselves, and to make ever greater progress. Therefore, to establish a socialist regime of collective mastery conforms most closely to the interests and aspirations of women, and is a basic means of their thorough emancipation. Of course, this lofty cause can only be the product of the successful achievement of the three revolutions (the revolution in relations, of production, the technical revolution, and the ideological and cultural revolution) of the transformation of small, backward production into large-scale socialist production. As Lenin has pointed out: “The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when an all-out struggle begins (led by the proletariat wielding the state power) against this petty- housekeeping, or rather when its wholesale transformation into a large-scal socialist economy begins.” [3]

In-this revolutionary cause, a cause dear to the hearts of women themselves, they ought to strive to set forth, move vigorously forward, trample underfoot all difficulties and obstacles, doing away with their inferiority complex and self resignation. With all their strength and intelligence, let the Vietnamese women rise up as a dynamic force, to speed up the process of building a new regime, a new economy and a new man so as to render our society truly fine and superior, and bring splendour to the Fatherland and happiness to every family. This is both a heavy responsibility and a great honour of the women’s movement in the present new stage.


In order to successfully fulfil such a noble historic mission, the especially important task of the women’s movement in the North is “to build a new socialist woman”. What do we mean by a new woman? One who carries out well her duty as a socialist citizen. One who fulfils satisfactorily her noble function as a mother toward her children, and as a wife in the family. As a matter of fact, in every society a women is a citizen, mother and wife. But there is a basic and striking difference between a slave citizen, a hired worker in a regime of private ownership and a socialist citizen who is collective master and master of the State; between a feudal or capitalist family and a socialist one; between a mother and wife in the old society and a mother and wife in the new one. In our regime, not only women’s participation in public affairs (economic management, State management) but even their childbirth, the bringing up and education of their children, and housework, all assume a profoundly social character, are closely related to the general progress of society and constitute an integral part of the cause of transforming the old society and building a new one.

At present, following the great victory of our resistance war against US aggression, for national salvation, the Vietnamese revolution has entered a new stage in which the general task of the North was laid down by the 22nd Plenum of the Party’s Central Committee as follows: to unite the entire people, strive to carry out socialist industrialization, speed up the three revolutions, build up, and quickly, strongly and steadily take North Viet Nam to socialism; combine economy closely with national defence, remain vigilant, stand ready to smash all manoeuvres of the US imperialists and their henchmen, strive to fulfil one’s duty in the revolutionary struggle for the completion of independence and democracy in South Viet Nam, advance toward peaceful reunification of the Fatherland, and fulfil the internationalist obligations towards the Lao and Khmer revolutions.

In the two years 1974-1975, the task of the North is: to rapidly complete the healing of the wounds of war, strive to rehabilitate and develop the economy, promote culture, continue to build the material and technical foundations of socialism, consolidate the socialist relations of production and socialist regime in every respect, stabilize the economic situation and the people’s life, strengthen national defence, and strive to fulfil its duty towards the heroic South.

To carry out well her duty as a Vietnamese citizen who loves her country and socialism, each woman must do her utmost to contribute to the successful fulfilment of this general task.

Nowadays, the female labour force accounts for more than 60% of the total labour force in agriculture, 42% of the total number of workers and employees, 52% of handicraft workers, nearly 60% in commerce, nearly 60% in the public health service, 52% in education, etc. With their participation in all branches of our national economy, with their industriousness and their capacity to endure inclement weather conditions, Vietnamese women may actually become the mainstay of the movement for labour, production and the practice of thrift in socialist construction. Just as we spared no sacrifices and devoted our lives to the independence and freedom of our Fatherland, we now stand ready to dedicate all our strength and intelligence to the cause of national construction. Just as Vietnamese women were capable of writing splendid pages in the history of our nation’s struggle against foreign invasion, they are now all the more capable, with their self-conscious and creative labour, of making worthy contributions to enhancing the strength of our country, eliminating poverty and backwardness, wiping out all negative and unhealthy manifestations which are at variance with the nature of our regime and the lines and policies of our Party and State.

In our society, when speaking of work we should emphasize work accompanied by technique, organization and discipline, for in our system it should be work with high productivity, turning out as much material wealth as possible for ourselves as well as for society, for the present generation as well as for generations to come. Work without technique or without high productivity is rudimentary work at variance with the nature of our socialist labour. Therefore, more than anybody else Vietnamese women should strive to study, constantly raise-their professional standards, master science and technique, set an-example in the observance of labour discipline, criticize the “hired labour” attitude, idleness, laziness and sluggishness. How many heroines and model workers there are in various economic and cultural branches who have upheld the new style in labour and have provided eloquent testimony to the great capabilities of women workers. The question is how to mobilize, above all how to organize and direct them.

Being good citizens in our society and a big force in the population, women should assume a worthy position in the management of society and the State. At present, in our National Assembly, 30% of the deputies are women and in the people’s councils the rate is 40%, There are 50 vice-chairwomen and women members in provincial administrative committees, more than 3,000 chairwomen, vice-chairwomen of district and village administrative committees; 130 managers or deputy managers of factories, 1,200 college lecturers, nearly 7,000 presidents or vice-presidents of agricultural cooperatives. This is a big step forward on the part of women and in realizing women’s role as masters of society, In the days to come, we must create favourable conditions for the women to participate more effectively in the management of the economy and the State.

Our Party and State hope that this Congress will concentrate its discussions on discovering all measures to arouse an effervescent revolutionary upsurge among women, and, together with the trade unions and the Youth Union, strongly step up the movement for production and thrift, for the socialist cause, for the kith-and-kin South and for the reunification of the country.

The woman is a citizen, a worker in society, and at the same time a wife and a mother. Only if we see all these aspects can we correctly tackle women’s problems, correctly solve the tasks of women’s emancipation and thoroughly understand the women’s movement. When we speak of a wife and mother, we speak of a family. The question of women’s emancipation is closely associated with the building of a new, socialist family.

The family is a natural cell of society, a form of existence of human life. Without the family there cannot be reproduction of man himself and society cannot survive and develop.

As a social product the family has developed together with the evolution of society. The socio- economic conditions in a determined period of development of history are the factors which decide the character and structure of the family. In exploiting societies, the family was based on private interests: it therefore gave rise in the feudal family to the principle “the husband calls the tune”, and in capitalist marriage to the principle “hand over the money first”. These inhuman principles brought untold suffering and humiliation to women. In socialist society, which does away with the regime of private ownership, of oppression and exploitation, the family is built on equal relations and genuine love. The family is no longer an economic unit as in former societies of small-scale, individual production. As an element closely reflecting the relations of socialist sentiment and virtue, the socialist family fulfils an indispensable social function in the life and development of the new society.

Hitherto, a number of us have not paid sufficient attention to the study of the problem of the family. Thus they have not seen clearly the relation between the family and society, the rights as well as the function of the family in the socialist regime. It seems that there are comrades who still think that as a revolutionary one should not speak of the family; that if we speak of the family, it means that we speak of individual interests, of private affairs which run counter to collective morality.

This is not so. A revolutionary does not make light of the family. He is not a “no-family” person as the anti-communists used to allege. On the contrary, being a patriot, a person who cherishes the high ideology of socialism, a fighter who heartily struggles for the happiness of the people, he pays great attention to the family. With regard to this question, our basic point of view is: the interests and happiness of the family totally depend on the interests and happiness of society. And the happiness of society is manifested in the happiness of each member of society, of each family.

In fact, there can be no family happiness, if there is still class exploitation, if people are still suffering and if the whole society has not yet achieved complete well-being. For this reason, in their resolute struggle to liberate the nation and the class, the revolutionary and the patriotic citizen know how to put the common interests before and above all. For the sake of common interests, they are ready to sacrifice all private interests. And what is the whole significance of this struggle full of sacrifices? It aims at realizing a free and happy society free from want and care. Once the society is happy, naturally the family is happy, too.

The socialist revolution brings happiness to all families. Together with the building of socialism, the material and moral life of the family is secured and enhanced in quality with every passing day. On the other hand, a well-organized, cheerful and happy family life is a very important condition for the peace of mind and enthusiasm of the working people in serving society. Organizing family living conditions well, in conformity with the norms of the new life, constitutes an important condition of the building of a new society, of social progress in the fields of economy, culture and morality. President Ho Chi Minh has said: “It’s correct to pay great attention to the family, because many families added together make up a society; a good society makes families better, and good families make a good society.”

Constantly developing production, to satisfy the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people, is the requirement of the basic economic law of socialism. In many respects, these needs were met according to family unit. That is why the Party, Government and mass organizations must take care of the life of each family, of the clothing, food, lodging, education and rearing of children. When we solve the problems relating to the people’s life, we must pay attention to the family unit with its diverse requirements. We must see to it that families have the best services, the most convenient for their needs. What is to be done for a family, for the needs of family life? This question should naturally come forward when thinking of the economy, production and living conditions. This matter should be raised in cooperatives, at district and provincial levels, and in the State plan in general. Only when we have a deep sense of serving the people, knowing well the living conditions of each family, how it fares for food and lodging, etc., can we really answer the questions “What should be done for a family?”, “What should one do to serve the people better?” Society as a whole takes care of each family and builds it into a happy and well-off unit so that it is able to put greater efforts into building a new society. Everyone must care for the life and happiness of the family, not with any selfish narrow-mindedness, but with a sense of being collective master of society. Not only does he care for his own family but he also pays attention to all other families in society. Efforts should be exerted to arrange family life rationally and in accordance with the general situation in the country so as to create conditions for each family member to fulfil to the utmost his duty to society.

In the socialist system, the conjugal relationship is based on genuine love. The wife and the husband do not depend on each other economically, their marriage is based on love. This love is not a fleeting thing, but a lasting sentiment constantly consolidated by mutual respect and shared ideals. The mutual respect of wife and husband means that they take into due consideration each other’s habits and opinions and show constant concern and care for each other. Their true mutual love and respect will help them live in harmony and together settle their family’s affairs, take good care of their children, help each other to make progress in all fields, and encourage each other to fulfil their social obligations. A Vietnamese proverb says: “A husband and a wife who live happily together can scoop dry the Eastern Sea.” Such a family is a happy family and when all families are happy, the whole society will have an abundance of happiness.

I would like to talk especially about the great social significance of the role of the mother in the family. The mother gives birth to children, brings them up, maintains the existence of the race, ensures society’s life and development. Of course the father’s role cannot be neglected. However, “the father’s giving life to a child cannot match a mother’s care.” This Vietnamese saying is a particular feature of Vietnamese culture. In contrast to the feudal culture which humiliated the women, regarded women as “difficult to educate” and demanded that the “wife obey the husband’s orders”, the people’s culture holds that “if they live in harmony, wife and husband can scoop dry the Eastern Sea,” and raises the mother to a respected position: “the father’s giving life to a child cannot match a mother’s care,” “care” here meaning bringing up and educating. Our new culture, the socialist culture, has inherited and developed this noble tradition of humanism of the national and popular culture.

The mother gives birth to the child, she has gone through many difficulties during her pregnancy and delivery, she brings up her child with her own milk and devotes her essential strength to the child. Besides the great obligation to the Fatherland and the revolution, what is more sacred than motherly love? Is there any sacrifice and devotion which can match that of the mother for her child? “We must educate our children from infancy”— the child’s acquaintance with human culture is first of all through the mother. Every second, every minute, the mother hands down to her child her own feelings, her own thoughts and her own experiences of life. Each word, each smile, each expression on her face, sad, or joyful, leaves a deep imprint in the child’s mind which he keeps throughout his life. To teach him how to talk, how to smile, to sing him to sleep with meaningful songs, to give him good advice, etc. — it is precisely in this way that the mother contributes to safeguarding and handing down the national culture from generation to generation.

There is no assessment of the mother’s contribution that is more correct and comprehensive than the following one by President Ho Chi Minh: “Our people are very grateful to the mothers in both zones, South and North, who have given birth to and fostered many generations of heroes in our country.” The Viet Nam Fatherland owes its heroic sons and daughters to the contributions of heroic, undaunted, faithful and responsible mothers. For many centuries, the Vietnamese mothers have handed down to us the mettle of the Trung Sisters and Lady Trieu, the tradition of industrious labour and love of country and of home. We can rightly be proud of our Vietnamese mothers.

We understand the mother’s function with all its noble social significance. The child in the socialist regime is the offspring of his mother and father and at the same time of the society as a whole. To give birth to a child, to foster him and educate him is a special function of the mother. However, it is also the responsibility and obligation of the whole of society, because, in our society, no ones lives isolated from the community of working people and broad social co-operation. On the contrary, in the old society, giving birth to a child and bringing him up was regarded as a duty of the mother alone, of each family. That is why mothers in the oppressed and exploited classes, who endured untold suffering as hired labourers, felt yet greater humiliation in giving birth to and bringing up their children.

The mother in our regime no longer suffers from these social evils. Women now enjoy a new life, they have become the collective masters of society, enjoying due social respect. The whole society cares for women in childbirth and in the bringing up of children. Society has to take this responsibility for the sake of its own existence and common happiness, for the interests of social progress and the future of mankind.

The mother who brings up healthy and good children is, in fact, discharging a noble function for the happiness of society and for her own happiness. The glorious contribution of the mother and father is to supply worthy sons to society: good citizens, strong, serious and resourceful workers. For the interests of the society and for the happiness of each family, for the present life and the happiness of future generations, the State must seek measures to care for the material and spiritual life of mothers and children.

To build up the new man is a task of prime importance of the socialist revolution. The new man is the product of the entire socialist revolution and socialist construction. However, the new man must be formed and trained right from the start, from the first suckling, from the first care given him by the family and society, from the first affection, advice and recommendations of his mother and father. Many traits of the mind and character of a man are formed very early, in embryonic form, in childhood under the direct influence of the family. Many social influences have an impact on the child through the family environment. Only serious parents can bring up their children to be serious adults. The example of the parents alone constitutes a very great educational strength. Therefore, the mother, together with the father, has an important role and responsibility to play in the formation of a new man. The family should be an expression of all that is new, beautiful, progressive, emerging, in our society; it should meet everything that the new society requires from each person.


To form a new, socialist, woman is the common task of our Party, our State and our people’s mass organizations. All of us must make it our duty to find effective measures enabling women to tackle successfully their three tasks as citizens, mothers and wives. This is also the basic task of the Women’s Union — the organization representing the interests and aspirations of the Vietnamese women.

First and foremost, we should mobilize, organize and manage the female work force in the best and-most rational way, in order to bring into full play women’s great abilities on the fronts of labour, production and economic rehabilitation and development. On the one hand the mass organizations — in the first place, the Women’s Union — must step up political propaganda and education, raise the women’s socialist consciousness, arouse their sense of collective ownership and of self-reliance, so that they may understand thoroughly the close relationship between the building of socialism and the emancipation of women. They must have a clear sense of their responsibility to the Fatherland, society and the family. On this basis they are asked to take the most active part in the emulation drive for labour and production, to economize and to build socialism. On the other hand the organs of economic management will do their best to help the women acquire and improve their scientifc and technical knowledge, and raise the, professional capacities. They will pay particular attention to ensuring that women get the right jobs. Irrational assignment harmful to women’s physiological constitution must be firmly dressed. All public services of the State, from the centre down to the grass roots, all production and working units are to be particularly concerned with the amelioration of women’s working conditions, the improvement of the tools they use in order to alleviate the intensity of women’s Labour. The Women’s Union must contribute ideas to the State and the trade unions in deciding the directives, policies and regulations related to women’s work such as training and fostering women cadres, using and protecting women’s labour, etc., and together with State organs and trade unions, control and supervise the implementation of these directives, policies and regulations.

While it mobilizes women to participate in the emulation drive for labour and production in general, the Women’s Union should study to work out and launch emulation drives of the women in each branch, each locality, in the countryside, cities, enterprises and offices, concentrating on very concrete tasks adapted to women’s capabilities, such as the emulation drive in livestock breeding, in seedling planting with new techniques, the women’s movement in education and culture, in training and competition among skilled workers, the women’s movement against dishonesty in commerce, for the protection of public property, etc. Through its guidance and organization of such concrete activities at the grassroots, the Union carries out political education well and pushes the women’s movement forward.

To strongly promote women’s role and ability as collective masters, the Party, the State and the mass organizations should pay more attention to the task of training and fostering women cadres so as to have many capable women cadres with important responsibilities in the leadership and management of various branches at various levels. We must sharply criticize those cadres who are unwilling to assign women to important posts, on the grounds that women sometimes run into difficulties with regard to their health and families. Sometimes women have been appointed to leading bodies in a formal, perfunctory manner. They are denied rational participation in the work and the necessary assistance for the effective discharge of their tasks. For their part, women must strive to study and unceasingly acquire more and more knowledge in every respect. They must have the courage to assume fresh responsibilities, to fight any sign of narrow-mindedness, envy and selfishness. More than anyone else, women themselves must unite, love one another, give each other mutual assistance to make common progress and give full play to their revolutionary capacities. The Women’s Union will attend closely to the conditions of women cadres in the various public services. State-run or collective economic establishments, contacting them in this or that way, with a view to assisting and stimulating them to forge ahead, to do their best to work and study, and carry out well the tasks assigned to them. At the same time, women must be given all facilities to make use of, and develop, their abilities to do mobilization work amongst people of their sex.

A task of particular importance to enable our women to adequately meet their obligations as citizens, mothers and wives, consists in caring for their health and living conditions — especially for the kinsfolk of families of War dead and invalids and armymen, or those in the worst-hit areas and mountain regions. This is an imperative task for our Party, State and mass organizations, and in particular the Women’s Union. It is incumbent on us to exert ourselves to the utmost and, by relying on existing possibilities, coordinate State activities with the positive contributions of the people and of the women themselves, to help them overcome difficulties in their everyday life, from living conditions and child care to study and working conditions. The State must complete all policies and regulations relating to the lives of our women; the State organs and the trade unions should build and efficiently run nurseries, kindergartens, canteens, medical stations, maternity homes, public bathrooms and wells, and enlarge the network of distribution of consumer goods and home service groups in cities and townships. The Party committees and administrative bodies at all levels, and the mass organizations, should take the most practical and concrete measures to help our women surmount immediate problems in family life, and gradually alleviate the burdens of housework, especially shopping and cooking. Those are the most practical tasks to achieve the emancipation of women, ensure their right to collective mastery and equality between men and women.

We have been conscious of the function of the mother as well as of her role and obligations in the socialist regime. Therefore, our entire society, our Party and State, our mass organizations must care for the mothers so that each of them may fulfil with honour her lofty function. The work of the Women’s Union on behalf of mothers thus figures among the tasks that must be given first priority.

We must pay great attention to the health of our women and help them bring up their children properly. The Women’s Union should cooperate closely with the public health services to initiate them into a hygienic mode of life, guide them in practising gynecological hygiene, pre-natal care, family planning and scientific child-rearing and persuade them to renounce backward habits in everyday life and child-rearing, so that lying-in women are properly delivered, and are able to bring up their children satisfactorily and remain in good health to carry on with their work. The Women’s Union must take the initiative in this work, discuss with the trade unions, the Committee for the Protection of Mothers and Children and other State organs to work out the most effective plans to enlarge the network of nurseries and kindergartens in the countryside as well as in the towns, and qualitatively improve the service of these establishments, so that mothers and families can confidently send their children to the nurseries and kindergartens. We must organize nurseries and kindergartens in such ways as to conform to the concrete conditions of work in various production bases and offices, in order to create the most favourable conditions for the mothers to send their children to those establishments. The Union must exhort the women to contribute actively to building nurseries and kindergartens and launch “build good nurseries and kindergartens” drives.

In the socialist system, we attach much importance to family education and social education. Every child of ours must be brought up properly in the family and given adequate education in society, from nurseries, kindergartens to infant classes, from primary and secondary schools to universities, from the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers’ organization to the Ho Chi Minh Working Youth Union. The conditions of our children should be determined through close cooperation between family and society; however, nobody can be in a better position to understand, approach, help and educate our little ones than their parents.

The Women’s Union, together with medical, educational and cultural organs, etc., is to guide mothers in bringing up and educating their children so that they fully understand the social meaning of this task, are fully conscious of their responsibility as mothers, and acquire the necessary scientific knowledge in the matter, launching “Loving Mother Excelling in Rearing and Educating Children” drives. It is desirable to organize in grassroots units discussions dealing with the bringing up of children by their mothers, and collaboration between families, nurseries, kindergartens, schools and mass organizations in the education of our little ones.

The education of children, the guidance of the mothers in the bringing-up of their offspring is a task of great importance. The Women’s Union must sum up experiences in its work among mothers with a view to further improving work in this field of activity in the coming period.

Thus, the activity of the Women’s Union is very tightly associated with the vigorous efforts of our women as a whole to meet their obligations as citizens and mothers, with the formation of new, socialist, women.

Every activity of the Union is designed to stir up a surging revolutionary movement among women. To effectively arouse and continuously impel forward the women’s movement, the leading bodies of the Union at all levels must always grasp the spirit of the general revolutionary tasks in the entire country, as well as the immediate important tasks of the North in the new stage, perfectly assimilate the policies of our Party, understand the major decisions of our Party and Government relating to economic and State management in different periods, closely follow the activities of economic, cultural, scientific and technical branches, thereby laying down precise and correct tasks, adopting appropriate forms and methods of agitation appropriate to women of different ages, of different callings and in different regions.

The Women’s Union should permanently work in close cooperation with the trade unions, the Ho Chi Minh Working Youth Union, and the State offices and mass organizations to mobilize the women’s movement, and to care for the conditions and interests of women. For their part, the trade unions, the Ho Chi Minh Working Youth Union and the State organs must offer to the Women’s Union their unstinted cooperation in work among women and consider such cooperation as their obligation.

The Party Committees at all levels are expected to guide agitation work among women, to lead the administrative bodies and mass organizations in fully applying the Party’s policies and line on mobilizing the women, thus creating favourable conditions for the Women’s Union to successfully rally, educate and organize the Vietnamese women to play their part in the glorious struggle for the common revolutionary cause of the nation and the people and for the emancipation of women.


While the Northern part of our country is entering a new stage and our Congress is discussing the tasks of the women in the building of socialism, our minds always turn toward the South, the beloved half of the country which is still continuing the struggle to achieve the cause of national liberation.

In the past 30 years, gunfire has not ceased even for a single day in the South. The French colonialists defeated, the US imperialists rushed in, step by step intervened, then committed armed aggression, staged a permanent “pacification”, a large-scale massacre, a genocidal war which has left a very heavy aftermath for our people and in the course of which the South Vietnamese women have endured untold suffering and mourning.

The US imperialists and their lackeys have turned the South into a huge prison; innocent people, women and children are herded into concentration camps with all kinds of harsh repression; patriots are searched, arrested and killed; hundreds of them are subjected to slow death in the “tiger cages” and the concentration camps; women especially suffer all kinds of brutal tortures. They pressganged the youth and vast numbers of men to take up rifles to fight as US mercenaries, in opposition to the fatherland, to kill their compatriots, leaving behind countless widows and orphans. US bombs and bullets and noxious chemicals have not only ravaged ricefields and orchards but also destroyed foetuses in the wombs of mothers, and caused sterility in many women. US culture trampled on women’s dignity, poisoned the children’s minds, destroyed the fine tradition of the nation’s culture, pushed a part of South Vietnamese society into a life of frantic debauchery and disrupted hundreds of thousands of families.

But the yoke of domination by the US and its lackeys, which provokes the deep hatred of our Southern compatriots, and their dream of conquering and turning the South into a new-type US colony, can never extinguish the ardent patriotism of the South Vietnamese people and women of all strata. It finally collapsed in face of the powerful offensive of those who had stood up together with the entire country to wage the great and successful August Revolution and carry out the anti-French Resistance war to victory.

Seething with hatred of the enemy who had occupied their country and destroyed their families, the South Vietnamese women rose in a resolute struggle against the enemy, valiantly holding high the banner of independence and freedom over the past 20 years, and, together with all our compatriots and combatants, have written glorious pages in the history of the Fatherland’s “Brass Wall”. The unflinching and ingenious struggle of the “long-haired army” [4] on the three fronts of political, military and agitational propaganda among puppet soldiers has brought into relief the marvellous strength and nature of the patriotic fight in the South.

Throughout the period of development of the South Vietnamese revolution, women formed the greatest popular force who actively volunteered in the hard, persistent and very resolute struggle against the very brutal measures and “pacification” schemes of the US and its puppets. Especially, our women made up the main force in a series of successful uprisings that marked the growth of the revolution in each stage. These were the concerted uprisings carried out in the vast rural areas in the years 1959-1960 which basically defeated a typical strategy of US neo-colonalism; the three-pronged attack[5] of the political army that smashed completely the system of strategic hamlets, thus creating conditions for the South Viet Nam armed forces and people to defeat the US “special war” strategy and topple the fascist Ngo Dinh Diem dictatorship; and the simultaneous uprisings in the rural areas and in a number of cities and provinces in the general offensive of 1968 which dealt telling blows at the US “local war” strategy, and the big uprisings that struck at the rural pacification plan of the US and its puppets, thus making an important contribution to winning a great victory in the strategic offensive of 1972, devastatingly crushing the US “Vietnamization of the war” program.

The outstanding combative image of our Southern sisters is that of tens of thousands of women in the women’s army who, defying enemy weapons and repressive actions, have stoutheartedly marched forward, combining persuation with violence, opposing terror and massacre, steadfastly sticking to their native land, determined “not to yield an inch”, holding firm to their every hamlet, their every orchard. It is the image of mammoth uprisings to shatter the scheme of strategic hamlets, of hosts of women’s detachments pushing forward to brave tanks and cannon, repelling US-puppet sweeps, of all-women guerilla units and artillery platoons ingeniously countering enemy aircraft and warships, opposing smaller to bigger forces, lesser to larger quantities. It is the image of columns of supply carriers made up of women, those “brass-legged and iron-shouldered transport fighters” who, though often going without food, never left the frontline, and always ensured the timely delivery of goods and ammunition to the front; of those women cadres who day and night stuck to the land and the population in the enemy rear, present at every hot spot to win over every inhabitant, every hamlet, every village; of thousands of women detainees who, despite cruel tortures, remained unwavering in their rock-like belief and kept their revolutionary dignity intact in confrontation with the enemy right inside the US-Saigon prisons. It is the image of innumerable patriotic mothers who wholeheartedly protected and cared for combatants and wounded, or saved every bowl of rice for their armed forces to be adequately fed to fight the aggressors; of how many other mothers and sisters of ours serving on all the battlefields across South Viet Nam. All this reflects well the resplendent image of Vietnamese women who are fully worthy of the honourable qualities of “heroism, undauntedness, loyalty and ability to shoulder great responsibilities”.

Our people boundlessly admire the self-sacrificing, arduous and supremely valiant behaviour of the South Vietnamese women, the heroic examples of Nguyen Thi Ut Tich, Nguyen Thi Hong Gam, Tran Thi Tam, Ta Thi Kieu, Nguyen Thi Phuc, Y Buong, and of so many other heroines and war dead, those fighters with or without a name who have contributed so meritoriously to the brilliant record of our women.

The conclusion of the Paris Agreement is a great victory of our people. Struggling for the full implementation of this Accord is the most advantageous way to end the disasters caused by the cruel US war of aggression to the South Vietnamese population and women.

But for more than a year past, the US imperialists and the Saigon junta have systematically torpedoed the Agreement. To their towering crimes of the recent past, the US and its henchmen have been adding fresh felonies!

The US maintains its military involvement in South Viet Nam, using the bloody hands of the Saigon bureaucratic militarist clique to continue the war in the illusory hope of doing away with the achievements of the revolution, perpetuating the partition of our country and imposing US neo-colonialism. The traitorous Nguyen Van Thieu clique, aided and abetted by the US, is intensifying land-grabbing operations against the liberated zone, feverishly steeping up “pacification” raids, and conducting downright terror, slaughter and looting in the areas under its control, trampling underfoot every legitimate aspiration of all sections of the population.

Faced with this obdurate and arrogant attitude of the US and its puppets, our people in the South cannot remain passively inactive. Joining the torrential movement of the population, the South Vietnamese women in Saigon-held areas are closing their ranks and vigorously opposing all Saigon policies and measures of repression, exploitation and money-squeezing, demanding democratic liberties and the right to return to their land to earn their living; repelling and foiling “pacification” moves; rising up to abolish coercion and wrest back their right to be masters, to win back every relative, every family, every hamlet; determined not to let their husbands and sons be hurled into desperate operations, not to let their native places be obliterated. The women in cities and towns, unable to live suffocated in misery any longer, are joining other sections of the population in the struggle for improvement of living conditions, for rice, relief payments, tax cuts and a solution to unemployment, against terror and looting, determined not to let the US-Thieu regime drag on the war to their detriment. In the liberated zone, the women, forming a considerable force, are bringing into play their role of masters, earnestly taking part in production and fighting, defending and building the revolutionary power, building a plentiful and good life with a view to consolidating the liberated zone into the mainstay of the South Viet Nam revolution.

Under the leadership of the NFL and the PRG, we are certain that the South Vietnamese women will develop their glorious revolutionary tradition, and will always merit the name of valiant shock-brigade in upholding the banner of independence and freedom. The South Vietnamese women will devote all their spirit and strength to uniting with the entire South Vietnamese people and combatants, so as to foil all sinister designs of the US imperialists and their henchmen, demand the implementation of the Paris Agreement and achieve by all means peace, democracy, the improvement of the people’s lives, bring the South Vietnamese revolution to complete victory, thereby ending misery, suffering and erasing all shame and hatred.

The lofty objective of our entire people is successful socialist construction in the North, and the struggle for the completion of the national democratic revolution in the South, in advance towards the peaceful reunification of the country. Socialism, national independence and democracy represented the invincible strength of our people in the recent anti-US struggle for national salvation. They are also the inexhaustible and invincible source of strength to guarantee our advance towards the complete victory of our people’s revolution throughout the whole country.

Viet Nam is one! The Vietnamese nation is one! North and South are under the same roof! The entire country is singleminded! The women of both North and South Viet Nam are united in their struggle, and with the assistance of the Lao and Cambodian women and women all over the world, will certainly fulfil together throughout the entire nation the behest contained in President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament, that is, “to build a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Viet Nam, thereby contributing worthily to the world revolution.”

Looking back at the revolutionary path traversed since the founding of our Party, especially since the August Revolution, we are extremely proud of the outstanding maturity of the women’s movement.

At present, our revolution is entering a new stage. Our Party’s Central Committee is confident that the Viet Nam Women’s Union and all women, with their abundant strength and glorious revolutionary tradition, will strive to make the North stronger in every respect and to fulfil its tasks toward the revolution in South Vietnam.


[1] Le Duan’s speech at the Vietnamese Women’s Fourth Congress (March 4-7, 1974).

[2] V.I. Lenin; Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964. Vol. 23, p. 329.

[3] V. I. Lenin: op. cit., Vol. 3, p. 221.

[4] Women’s army (Ed.)

[5] Attack on the political and military planes, and agitation work among enemy soldiers.

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