Where We Work


Improving women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam is an opportunity for both the private and public sectors and could add USD 40 billion to the economy each year.
– McKinsey Global Institute 2018


Vietnam has shown strong commitment to gender equality as demonstrated by improvements in the legislative framework, including the introduction of gender equality provisions into the 2019 Labour Code, and a growing focus on gender-responsive practices in the business sector. Despite these efforts, challenges remain, including gender norms that create gaps in economic opportunities and outcomes for women.

While Vietnam’s ranking in the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 went up to 72nd from 83rd in 2022, it’s still far behind its peak at 42nd in 2007, and trailing behind ASEAN peers like the Philippines and Singapore. While the female labour force participation rate in Vietnam is commendable at 68.0%—surpassing both global and regional averages—women are overrepresented in informal sector roles or in low-wage employment. The gender pay gap within the formal wage sector stands at 13.7%.

In the industrial sector, 91.2% of women worked in manufacturing, which has been especially hit hard by Vietnam’s post-COVID economic downturn, leading to layoffs and reduced operations. Additionally, responsibility for unpaid care work falls disproportionately on women, who perform on average almost 2 times more such work than men. Cultural views reinforce traditional gender roles, with 57% of Vietnamese men seeing breadwinning as predominantly a man’s duty and 28% believing child caregiving to be more of a woman’s responsibility.

Investing in Women works with local and regional organisations in Vietnam to reduce gender disparities in the workplace, broaden women’s access to economic opportunities, and promote more equitable sharing of unpaid care responsibilities.

Structural, economic, and socio-cultural challenges are inhibiting Vietnamese women from achieving economic participation.


Economic Participation

  • Despite having higher than global are regional averages, female labour force participation in Vietnam showed a gradual decline from 72.7% in 2014 to 68.0% in 2023, indicating a decreasing trend in female labour market involvement. (ILO Modelled Estimates using latest data; last accessed: February 2024)
  • Vietnam reports a 17.0% share of female board members and 9.0% share of female CEOs, alongside a notable share of 12.0% female board chairs, reflecting a relatively higher than average integration of women in leadership roles within the corporate sector. (Deloitte 2022)
  • The percentage of women in senior and middle management positions is at a low 17.1%, compared to men at 82.9%. (ILO STAT using latest data; last accessed: February 2024)
  • In Vietnam, the daily proportion of time spent by women on unpaid care and domestic work is 15.7%, whereas for men, it’s 9.5%. (UNWOMEN 2023)

    Educational Attainment


      Health and Survival

      • An adolescent birth rate of 34.8 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 indicates a prevalent early pregnancy issue that could impact young women’s health and limit their social and economic development. (WHO Global Health Observatory 2023)
      • Vietnam’s 96.1% rate of skilled attendance at births reflects a strong health system infrastructure, providing critical care to mothers and infants. (WHO Global Health Observatory 2023)
      • The high proportion of 93.6% of births occurring in health facilities signifies an effective strategy to deliver skilled care during childbirth and manage any arising complications. (WHO Global Health Observatory 2023)
      • The antenatal care uptake, with 88.2% of women having at least four visits, demonstrates a high level of healthcare access during pregnancy. (WHO Global Health Observatory 2023)
      • In Vietnam, one quarter of women, or 25.0%, have experienced violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, with more than half of the women (56.9%) consider it justifiable for a husband to hit or beat his wife. (OECD Data Explorer 2023)
      • 11.0% of women aged 20-24 entered into marriage or a union before 18, reflecting a portion of the population that may face the associated challenges of early marital responsibilities.  (WHO Global Health Observatory 2023)

      Political Empowerment

      • In Vietnam, only 11.10% of ministerial positions are held by women. (World Bank 2022)
      • The percentage of women in the National Assembly is 30.3% compared to 69.7% for men. (OECD Women in Politics 2023)
      • Vietnam has seen a significant rise in the number of seats held by women in its national parliament, growing from 24.3% in 2015 to 30.3% in 2023. This increase suggests a strengthening of women’s political representation over the years. (UNESCAP 2023)
      • Vietnam’s data shows an increase in women’s representation in local government, with a reported 26.8% in the earlier data point and rising to 29% more recently, indicating progress in women’s political engagement at the local level. (UNESCAP 2023)

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