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Gender Inequality in Vietnam

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As one of the world’s leading countries in the proportion of women engaged in economic activity and 1st ranking in the Asia Pacific region on the proportion of women in the National Assembly, Vietnam is considered one of the leading advances in the field of gender equality. Vietnam has the appropriate policies to ensure equal rights for men and women and has made significant progress to reduce the gender gap in health and education as well as improve the situation of women women in general. However, these achievements have not purely synchronous and along with that progress there still exists several shortcomings. Moreover, with the transition process to more and more expanding market economy, the challenges of gender equality are changing in parallel with the structural transformation of the labor market to meet the economic growth as present. While growth brings new opportunities, gender inequalities in access to productive resources and training opportunities has restricted the ability of women to compete. This paper provides the reality of gender inequality in labor field in Vietnam and give some opinions to prevent sexism and promote sexual equality”.

1. Reality of gender equality in labor filed in Vietnam
The essence of the phrase “gender equality” can be understood as the equality between men and women and is one of the basic issues of human rights. The more society develops the more people pay attention to sexual equality. Gender equality presents in all fields of social life, including labor field. Gender equality is not simply the number of male and female participating in the labor process and it does not mean that men and women are the same, regardless of the psychological and physical factors and social factors. Sexual equality in labor field means that men and women have the same social position to participate and work in the labor process; the similarities and differences of men and women (gender point of view and gender) are recognized and valued equally to fully promote the potential of each gender; both male and female labors have the fair opportunity, obligations and benefits in the same labor according to certain principles. However, in the field of labor in our country, does gender equality actually exist or are there any shortcomings which create the sexual inequality? Recent researches have proved that in Vietnam labor field, gender inequality still exits as indicated in the following aspects: Gender discrimination caused by the impact of Confucianism

Confucianism, the most typical representative of the patriarchy in Vietnam has showned ancient social structure containing the relationship between Person – Home; Nation – World. Mencius said that world is created by Nation. Nation is rooted by Home; Home has the origin of Person. People (men – the author’s note) must firstly study and cultivation (Self-improve must follow standards of human, kindness and prestige), then to build and manage their homes to the best and then rise to national management (governance) and rule other countries. According to that trend men will build dominance and social stability ever after. In view of the after Confucianism, Three Moral Bonds is three basic relationship in the society: King and subject, Father and child, Husband and wife. These are three inequal relationship in classed society.

On that basis, those who do well for others is the leader and most powerful in society and family. In this structure, women are in social groups “I”, “child”, “wife” which is the subject to bear the absolute education and dominance of men. Confucianism also considered women equally to the sub-human, to be despised, not much ignored. According to Confucius, only women and the small-minded is difficult to teach. Therefore, to talk about male-ruled society, people often referred to as mode “sexism”. Confucianism supposed that unconditionally serving for men is the function, tasks and women’s natural role. The concepts and principles have tied the woman lives in the shackles of the family. Therefore, many women after marriage are not allowed to participate in the social work. They arre only permitted to perform household chores such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of children. This problem is still occurring in many rural and remote areas, where women had little access to scientific knowledge. Gender discrimination in wages and recruitment

Although the promulgated Law on gender equality has clearly stated: “Men and women are equal in standard age when being hired, are treated equally at working place, wages, bonuses, social insurance, working conditions and other working conditions” (Article 13 Law on Gender Equality), but the discrimination against women is common in the recruitment process. Vietnam newspapers regularly publish job advertisements specify gender requirements of candidates for the vacancy, given the different standard requirements for males and females, or to do the same job, women must meet the higher standards than men. Age discrimination in the labor process

The difference in age is affecting the career opportunities of women, especially in the public sector. However, controversy surrounds the issue of retired age is still undecided because this also relates to five-year additional pension expenditures – a profitably significant transfers of resources for women and this expense will no longer exist if we raise the retired age of women equally to men’s retired age. While a longer life leads to the fact that there are more women than men among the people who retires at the age of over 65, the gender aspect in disputes on pensions have a quite big influence. This is the prior issue because it meets two of the selecting criteria. Firstly, it’s about human rights when women individually face the barriers of opportunities on employment and promotion which prefer men. Secondly, this problem is the basis of other manifestations of gender inequality. Lower retired age is a reason to lower the age limit to participate in training. Women who have little training opportunities and skilled improvement, are often less available in the higher position and the number of women who qualified to compete with men in the agency decreases. Unfair workload

Women and men spend the similar amount of time to do for a living but the time for housework is different. With the burden of balancing between work and family responsibilities, a Vietnam woman has to work very long hours. According to statistics, the average female spends 13 hours a day on working than a man who only spends 09 hours a day. This suggests that while women spend equal time with men in activities of earning income, men do not share much household tasks. This leads to that women must bear the unfair burden of working. In Vietnam society, the tradition attitude and behavior puts women into the status of the caregiver. Government of Vietnam acknowledges the role of women in the family by rewards and certificates of merit, but it does not recognize the contributions of men. There is no comprehensive policy for health care, except from the policy for child care. Under Labor Code amended in 2002 and other involved regulations, only new mothers leave to care for infants or sick children. Allowing fathers to leave for child care may be the step forward on the path to remove the burden of women. 2. Recommendations and solutions

Actively propagate the knowledge of gender equality and gender equality law to all parts of society Implement to propagandize and educate the Gender Equality Law and other documents guiding the implementation on the mass media in a practical way, consistent with each sector, local and specific objects. Focusing firstly on raising awareness of the committees, leaders, Party members, opposing to ideological disdain for women, the act of sexual discrimination through the opening of the special columns on the subject mass media such as pictorial, written paper, the Internet and through conferences, seminars, training for reporters, propagandists Firstly, Elimination of gender discrimination must be understood properly According to Part 5 of Article 5 of the Law on Gender Equality, gender discrimination is the restriction, exclusion, does not recognize or respect the role and position of men and women, causing inequality between men and women in all fielda of social life and family.

Gender discrimination can only be removed when the agencies, organizations, families and individuals understand deeply and comprehensively all aspects related to gender, sex and gender equality in order not to mechanically follow the direction of bias in the recognition of the participation, contribution and benefit from participation achievements, contributions of the men and women in the current environment that aims to find out the best technical aspects to ensure gender equality in the environment in the future. Secondly, to understand properly about creating equal opportunities for men and women As human beings, as citizens, women and men have equal rights and obligations in all aspects of family and society.

Therefore, to ensure fairness and equality, both women and men must be equally created opportunity in all areas of social life and family according to the hard principle of sharing the same obligations, and responsibilities, but flexible (default conditions or nature) to ensure compatibility with the different characteristics of real women and men about gender (including the relevant biological characteristics to reproductive function and body composition (body shape, height, weight) and adjust the current gender roles that men and women are actually doing in favor of gender equality goal. Thirdly, to understand the true essence of gender equality. To have substantive equality, requires: * Recognition and respect for gender differences between men and women. Consider the inappropriate gender may exist in fact, ensure equality for women and men from the children’s stage. * Propaganda and mobilization remove customs and outdated practices that lead to deep causes of gender inequality. * To promulgate, protect, enforce and promote the rights of women and men. * Issue and implementation of temporary special measures to assist women in reducing gender gaps and measures to protect women as mothers. Support skills training

Economic and trade integration are not likely to solve the insecurity of employment of women as well as low-wage jobs, unless there are opportunities for women and improve their level of education .Strengthening women’s access to appropriate professional development opportunities and skills as essential conditions for a fair competition and ensure they have the opportunity as men to contribute for the economy. To raise the value of the housework, encourage to share responsibility between men and women, as well as facilitate the construction of the legal sector to encourage private provision of services to help the family We may conduct some work to reduce inequality in sharing housework and reduce the burden of housework for women. At first, this work should be linked to the recognition and greater value, and can be tested to brought into the national budget.

Doing this will help make the economic argument for greater investment between men and women. Secondly, to encourage more sharing housework between men and women. To do this, we need to change attitudes and behavior through building a positive image of both men and women in family and work, maybe through textbooks and curricula in school. Thirdly, to strengthen the care of the public sector and provide a framework to encourage private sector of care through the child care or center. This can fill the gap in the existing care services in this area as well as professional providers of private care services. Encouragement can be in the form of tax or financial support for certification or specialized training. Finally, it needs to do more work to assess the impact of infrastructure projects in reducing the burden of household chores – such as transport, electrification, water supply …. 3. Conclusion

Gender analysis gives me a perspective of gender equality issues and to create equality in the field of labor for women in Vietnam. Although Vietnam has made good achievements in improving gender equality issues, but the culture still has a big influence on gender relations. The persistence of gender inequalities have led to women working for much more hours, limiting the access to resources,and being discriminated both in recruitment and salary entitlement. The implementation of measures to deploy gender equality and creating a solid legal basis, sharing the household chores… aiming to create fairness and equality between men and women during labor process is essential and should receive more social attention in the present time


Law on Gender Equality promulgated with Decision No 73/2006/QH11 dated 29/11/2006. Website: http://genderindex.org/country/viet-nam
Website: http://www.isee.org.vn/news/2012/03/Doi-thoai-ve-binh-dang-gioi Website: http://www.wikigender.org/index.php/Gender_Equality_in_Vietnam Papers on Workshop on the implementation ò gender equality objectives and mainstreaming gender equality in some Law projects.

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