Vietnam has made strides in improving women’s economic empowerment; achieving parity in boys’ and girls’ primary school enrolments, more than 30% of women in tertiary education, and almost one third of small to medium enterprises owned by women. Vietnam has progressive laws around maternal rights and the government has ratified The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Despite some progress, cultural and political barriers continue to restrict opportunities available to women. Employers in Vietnam pay women on average VND 3 million per year less than men, promote only half as many women as men, and discriminate against women in recruitment with 70% of job advertisements specifically requesting men.
In Vietnam, banks approve fewer business loans of lesser value for women than for men and the law forces women to retire five years earlier than men. Vietnamese society also places the burden of unpaid housework and childcare on women, pushing them to take informal, low-paid work or sacrifice their careers to spend more time at home.
In collaboration with corporations and business leaders, impact investors and entrepreneurs, governments and advocates in Vietnam, Investing in Women is building the business case and spearheading the campaign for women’s economic equality in South East Asia.
The Board Gender Diversity in ASEAN study advances the case that having women in business leadership positions is good for company performance,.
Discrimination against women in the workplace is a persistent structural and social issue that can start as early as the hiring process.
The business case for paternity leave is also compelling. The benefits of paternity leave extend to parents, children and business.