Awareness of Gender Equality: Why ghosts always in white dresses?


Tran Ngoc Dinh from Student Association at Tay Bac University (TBU) presented images of long-haired ghosts in white dresses in movies. He commented that these images reflected a prejudice against women.

Why attach women to scary ghost images?

The ghosts in white dresses

At Tay Bac University (TBU), 70% of a total 3,200 students are from ethnic minority groups, including many female students who are among the most vulnerable groups at the university.

Tran Ngoc Dinh, a representative of the TBU Student Association, showed images of long-haired women in white dresses depicting ghosts in movies. This reflects a prejudice against women and begs the question: Why are these images of ghosts always female? This wrong perception needs to change.

Ngoc Dinh also mentioned that gender equality is about women and men, not just women. To help students understand all this, the mindset of lecturers and students on gender issue needs to be changed.

Ethnic minority female students at TBU
Ethnic minority female students at TBU

Since 2017 the Aus4skills has been supporting gender education at Northern mountainous universities, including Tay Bac University.

This support has involved organising courses in Vietnam and Australia which have allowed participating lecturers to gain a better and in-depth understanding of gender equality, which they can then share with the broader community.

This change has played a significant role in the community, especially in the Northwest region where many ethnic minority women continue to face gender-based prejudice and inequality in their everyday life.

Dr. Cara Ellickson, Director of Gender Consortium from Flinders University (Australia), a delivery partner of Aus4Skills, remarked: “Achieving gender equity is important for universities, not only because it is ‘the right thing to do’, but also because there is an evidence based business case that is linked to both gender equity and university performance.” 

By creating a gender-equitable working environment, universities will be able to attract talent and retain employees who are motivated to contribute more.

The TBU participating lecturers in the Aus4skills training courses developed their own application projects, which were then incorporated into their lectures to raise awareness of gender equality for their students.

Female students participating in anti school violence campaign
Female students participating in anti-school-violence campaign

These lecturers organised gender training courses for two new cohorts of more than 400 students. The courses provided students with an understanding of psychobiological characteristics of men and women, and prevention of gender-based violence at school. Some activities were designed specifically for each of the two gender groups, and others were designed for both.

Journey of change

Ms. Phan Thị Vóc, Lecturer at TBU’s Department of Educational Psychology, shared: “Since I joined the Aus4Skills Women in Leadership Journey I’ve changed a lot. I used to be quite served and now I’ve become much stronger. This has impacted my colleagues at the Department who feel inspired and motivated to change the awareness of lecturers and students.” 

This was quite a successful journey, in which Vóc often discussed with Aus4skills experts to find solutions to problems. And most importantly, this change was a big motivation for Phan Thị Vóc to prove herself in the new role as Deputy Head of the Department of Educational Psychology at the TBU.

Lường Hoài Thanh, Director of the Northwestern Ethnic Cultures Research Center confidently confirmed that she had become more mature and gained a thorough understanding of gender. Being an ethnic minority woman, she used to feel satisfied with her current life as an ordinary lecturer. But things have changed: she realised that both genders have strengths to prove themselves.


Upon research into preservation of Australian Aboriginal peoples’ traditional culture, Lường Hoài Thanh consulted ethnic minority female students, inspired their pride of their own traditional cultural values that present income generation opportunities for their own families.

The viewpoints of Lường Hoài Thanh and Phan Thị Vóc have changed the way of thinking among students, particularly ethnic minority females. A Thai brocade conservation project was established by a Thai female student group.

A "Safe, sexual harassment - free campus” communication campaign was conducted in order to raise awareness and equip students with skills to prevent and deal with sexual harassment and sexual assault. The campaign specifically promoted the role of lecturers and staff at TBU in creating a safe and enabling environment for maintaining an attitude of gender equality among students.

Since 2017 Aus4Skills has been cooperating with universities in the Northwest region to promote gender equity in higher education, raising awareness of gender equality among businesses, schools, and the community.

Aus4Skills has helped teachers and students at the TBU understand the personal values that they can bring to the community. Gender equality has a strong impact on changing their way of thinking, making them feel stronger, more respected and more wishful to contribute to the society.

Source: Dantri

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