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Published by: Institute for Social Development Studies, 2016

Country / Region: Vietnam

Social Determinants of Gender Inequality in Vietnam

30 March 2016

The Social Determinants of Gender Inequality in Vietnam report from the Institute for Social Development Studies addresses the question of why progresses has been so slow on gender equality in Vietnam, exploring the challenges and barriers that hinder the efforts of the Government and the people of Vietnam in bridging the gap between genders.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. describe gender practice and gender attitudes in Vietnam;
  2. explore factors that contribute to gender inequality in Vietnam; and
  3. develop recommendations for improvement of policy and intervention programs for the promotion of gender equality in Vietnam.

The study includes a nationally representative survey covering 4212 women and 4212 men aged between 18-65 from 9 cities and provinces, namely Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh City, Đà Nẵng, Tái Bình, Phú Tọ, Lâm Đồng, Bình Tuận, Vĩnh Long and Tây Ninh, and a qualitative research undertaken in Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Hồ Chí Minh City and Long An.

Highlights

  • The most recent Government report on the implementation of the National Program on Gender Equality in the five-year period of 2011-2015 has recognised that the progress of gender equality in Vietnam is still slow, sometimes stagnant, or even regressive in various areas. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, the rank of Vietnam has regressed over the last decade from a rank of 42 in 2007 to 76 in 2014.
  • Traditional rigid gender perceptions towards men’s and women’s values and roles are found as underlying causes of gender inequality in Vietnam. While other aspects of this longstanding perception have weakened over time, the value of the role of family caregiver assigned to women is still firmly sustained in the minds and behaviours of Vietnamese men and women across all social strata. Women, in particular, deeply internalise this value and, in many cases, are willing to compromise their individual well-being and advancement
  • Gender inequality in education is partly caused by the prescribed caregiver role of women in the family. Women have significantly lower levels of education compared to men. Women are more likely than men to fall within the groups with a lower-secondary school education and lower Young women are expected to sacrifice their formal education for the benefit of their male siblings and tend to give up their formal education to perform family caregiver roles.
  • More than 20% of women covered by the survey did not work because of household chores, compared to 2% of men. Moreover, among those who worked, women are more likely to work in agriculture or in the informal sector.
  • Women are less likely to get promoted or given a chance to improve their professional qualifications, especially among those who work in the state sector. The number of women promoted to a higher position is less than half that of men. The number of women who attended trainings or conferences is often less than three fourths that of men.
  • Domestic work remains women’s main responsibility. Women undertake 12 out of 14 tasks which the research itemised, ranging from cooking to caring for senior or sick family members. Men primarily undertake one to two tasks, including the maintenance and fixing of household appliances, and representing family in contacting local authorities.
  • In Vietnam today, residing in a husband’s family home is still a more common than residing in a wife’s family home. Tis leads to the husband’s parents receiving more care and assistance. This traditional practice limits the role of the daughter in her birthparents’ family and strengthens the values as well as the role of the sons.

Contents

  • FOREWORD
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • LIST OF TABLES AND
  • FIGURES
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • INTRODUCTION
    • Background
    • Conceptual framework
    • Gender as a Social
    • Gender Relations and Inequality in Contemporary Vietnam
    • Study Methods
    • Study tools
    • Sampling and Data Collection
    • Analytic Approaches
    • Challenge and Limitations of data
  • DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIOECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
    • Gender Structure
    • Age Structure
    • Ethnicity
    • Education Level
    • Religion
    • Marital Status
    • Employment Structure
    • Household Structure
    • Living Conditions and housing ownership
    • Property ownership
  • GENDER INEQUALITY IN EDUCATION
    • Education Plans/Aspirations
    • Reasons for Not Continually Attending School
    • Family Investment in Education
    • Most families pay equal attention to daughters’ and sons’ education
    • Gender-Based Attitudes Towards Education
    • Women hold a stronger prejudice with regard to women’s education than men
    • The younger a person is the less prejudice he/she holds
    • Education has a positive influence on the gender attitudes of men and women
  • 4 GENDER ISSUES IN OCCUPATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURE
    • Gender differences in occupation and employment
    • Gender differences in management
    • Gender differences in choices of occupation and jobs
    • Choice of occupation
    • Gender differences in conditions for recruitment
    • Gender differences in enjoying benefits provided during employment
    • Gender differences in social insurance
    • Gender differences in medical insurance
    • Gender differences in opportunities for employment and work promotion
    • Gender differences in income
    • Gender issues in people’s perception of working capacity and work opportunities
    • Perception of work capacity of men and women
    • Perception of men and women’s opportunities for employment
  • GENDER INEQUALTY IN MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
    • Marriage
    • Marriage holds significant value for Vietnamese men and women
    • Marriage primarily motivated by love and based on individual decisions
    • Women more likely to initiate a divorce and primarily due to unequal gender relations
    • Living arrangement and its implications on care for parents
    • Patrilocal residence is the more prevalent cohabitation model
    • Attitudes towards sons and daughters
    • The son preference
    • The strategies and practices to have sons
    • Sons inherit more family assets
    • Gender-based perceptions with regards to sons and daughters
    • Women’s names in the family’s annals –from “the outsider” to “the family’s honour”
    • Factors affecting the practice of sex selection and asset distribution planning
  • GENDER INEQUALITY IN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
    • A Married couple’s sex life
    • Family planning
    • Domestic Violence
    • Factors affecting gender relations in sex
  • GENDER-BASED DIVISION OF LABOUR AND DECISION MAKING
    • Men and women’s division of labour in production activities
    • Gender labour division in agricultural/forestry and fishery activities
    • Gender division of labour in animal breeding and fishery
    • Gender division of labour in family handicraft production/services/business
    • Gender division of labour in housework
    • Gender division in raising children
    • Gender attitudes towards division of labour in the family
    • Decision making on gender division of labour in the family
    • Perception of gender division of labour in the family
  • GENDER INEQUALITY IN POLITICAL AND SOCIAL PARTICIPATION
    • Communist Party Membership
    • Participation in the Local Authority Bodies
    • Participation in SocioPolitical Organisations
    • Participation in Social Organisations
    • Participation in Community Activities
    • Leisure activities
    • Barriers to Participation
    • Gender-Based Perceptions and Attitudes towards
    • Leadership Ability and Political Participation of men and women
  • KNOWLEDGE OF LAWS ON GENDER
    • Marriage and Family Law
    • Law on Gender Equality
    • Law on Domestic
    • Violence Prevention
  • CONCLUSIONS
    • Conclusions
    • Final remarks
    • Recommendations
  • REFERENCES

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