Australian Embassy

Media release - 7 March 2016

Australia supports research on gender in Vietnam


In celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March), the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), with support from the Australian Government, has launched the research report “Social Determinants of Gender Inequality in Vietnam”.

The report finds that women in Vietnam still face substantial obstacles socially, domestically and professionally.  Women are still expected by society to take on full responsibility for care and support of their husbands, children, and extended family on both sides. Women are more likely to accept staying at home or working for lower pay. There is an expectation that they should avoid gaining a higher level of education than their husbands, and even tolerate domestic violence in silence.

As these values are often deeply internalized, many Vietnamese women are willing to compromise their individual well-being and professional advancement. This severely limits women’s opportunities in education, career development, and social and political participation.

“Australia is pleased to support this important research” said Mr Layton Pike, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy in Vietnam. “We believe it provides useful facts and recommendations for policy-makers to help reduce gender inequalities across the economic, social and political lives of Vietnamese women.”

“The findings of this study explain why progress in gender equality does not keep pace with economic and social development in Vietnam,” said Dr Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Insitute for Social Development Studies. “Many Vietnamese people, despite having high education attainments or living in cities, still maintain traditional attitudes regarding the roles of men and women. They continue to prefer sons over daughters and believe that women’s core value lies in sacrifice for their family”, she added.

The report recommends that, to address gender inequality in Vietnam, it is crucial to change traditional attitudes on the role of women; encourage men to share household work; inspire women’s autonomy; and encourage leadership roles for women both within an outside the family context.

Madame Hoang Thi Ai Nhien, first Vice-President of the Vietnam Women’s Union said that the findings help to identify the areas that Vietnam needs to focus on to promote gender equality and women’s advancement. She added that in order to achieve true equality, the Government should have policies both to support women in their caring responsibilities, and encourage men to share in this role.  The Vietnam Women’s Union wants all of society to work together to build and maintain new and progressive norms of men and women in both private and public spheres.

The Institute for Social Development Studies conducted this research study within 2012-2015 with 8,424 men and women in 9 provinces/cities in Vietnam. The project was supported by the Ford Foundation, Oxfam Novib and the Australian Government.

For more information on the research study, please contact: Dr. Khuat Thu Hong

Institute for Social Development Studies, Tel. 04 3782 0058; Email: [email protected];