A new campaign is challenging gender norms in Vietnam, focusing on the roles of women and men in the home and at work, and breaking down gender stereotypes around responsibility for childcare, bread-winning, job segregation and leadership.
The initiative was launched at an event in Hanoi in January, led by PLAN International Vietnam in partnership with the Vietnamese Youth Union and with support from Investing in Women, and welcoming representatives from government agencies.
The campaign engages key opinion leaders from across Vietnam and focuses on sharing positive stories that challenge the gender norms that see women’s primary role as that of carer for children and family members, and as home maker.
Caption: Singer Ngoc Lam and rapper Rica performing the project theme song at the project’s kickoff ceremony
The influential figures engaged in the campaign launch included the writer Chanh van Hoang Anh Tu, The Voice 2019 contender, Lam Bao Ngoc, and Miss Vietnam-Universe 2018, H’hen Nie, as well as the rapper Rica.
Rica composed and performed a theme song for the campaign, with lyrics sung from the perspective of a man who is proud and confident in sharing the housework with his partner:
“From small things to big things, cooking, we take care of it together;
Everything is easy, when shared with each other
Even though the hard work, we will not compare to each other
two of us share our faith”
The date of the campaign launch coincided with the Vietnamese festival of Tết, the first day of the Lunar new year, which is celebrated by family gatherings around food.
The timing of Tết was particularly relevant to the theme of gender roles at home, considering the pressure that many Vietnamese women are under during these holidays to undertake large amounts of cooking and housework, as well as childcare.
In the talk show segment, both male and female participants acknowledged how Tết emphasises inequality between men and women, and can become a source of judgement for a woman’s worth.
Caption: The project’s partners from Youth Union, key opinion leaders and Plan’s Gender Expert join first talkshow: equal distribution of house chores. (L-R): Anh Duong, member of Plan Youth Advisory Committee; Hoang Anh Tu, Writer; Giang Pham, Gender Expert from Plan Vietnam; Duc Vu – member of Plan Youth Advisory Committee; and the talk show’s host, Hoang Trang.
The panel also highlighted the impact of gender norms during Covid-19, and the disproportionate impact felt by women who had to take on additional responsibilities for childcare and housework, due to closures of schools and businesses, often to the detriment of their own careers and income.
The panel stressed the importance of sharing housework and care responsibilities between men and women to building a happy, fun and equal family and home life, and the key role that men and the youth can play in bringing about the changes necessary.
The campaign will run throughout 2022, and will take place in four phases exploring different themes around gender equality. Firstly, the campaign will consider the gender norms around women and men’s’ roles at home and at work. Secondly the campaign will focus on sharing financial responsibility and men and women’s roles as breadwinners and providers. In the third phase, the campaign will look at stereotypes around different roles for women and men in the workplace, and finally the campaign will explore gender equality in leadership positions.