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Published by: Investing in Women, 2019

Country / Region: Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Regional

Shifting millennial gender norms: Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines

10 May 2019

Investing in Women (IW) is an initiative of the Australian Government that catalyses inclusive economic growth by contributing to women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia. IW uses innovative approaches to improve women’s economic participation as employees and as entrepreneurs and to influence the enabling environment to promote women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

IW commissioned an online Social Norms, Attitudes and Practice (SNAP) survey to understand urban millennials’ perceptions and practices around the sharing of household chores, women’s economic role and parental leave in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The survey was completed by 2,000 men and women in cities, between 18 and 40 years, in each country. By focusing on urban millennials, the research uncovered attitudes that differ from what is generally considered the broader, national social norm.

Despite persistent gender inequalities in all three countries, the survey data reveals that within this demographic there are many positive gender perceptions that can be leveraged to advocate for greater norm shifts: Women and men show similar levels of ambition to reach senior positions. Over 50% of women work for personal fulfilment and professional development.

Women – much more than men – in Vietnam (56%) and Indonesia (48%) are primarily motivated to work for economic independence. Across the three countries, gender stereotypes remain about whether women or men are better at specific tasks and in general women are seen as better at the majority of unpaid household and care work. IW has been working with local media and advocacy partners on campaigns to increase the normalisation of men’s role at home and women’s economic role.

In Indonesia, Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru, an alliance of male champions, together with a local women’s organisation Yayasan Pulih, launched the #KitaMulaiSekarang or #LetsStartNow campaign, which drawing on the SNAP data, highlights how both men and women benefit when domestic responsibilities are shared. Through social media, articles, posters, infographics and videos, the campaign has reached 1.4 million people in 6 months, getting more than 200,000 likes, comments or shares.

In the Philippines, data informed a similar campaign, targeting urban commuters and social media users with messages encouraging men to share in housework and seeking to normalise women’s economic role. The campaign has reached 2 million users in 9 months and has been recognised by local government units.

In Vietnam, data was used to produce a video highlighting that while most women are ambitious and work for their own economic independence, they are constrained by gender norms and stereotypes. The video is being used by IW’s partner, the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women, to promote conversations among policy makers and business leaders.

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