Vietnam now ranks 76th out of 108 countries in the number of women in management, with a relatively low ratio of 23 percent, a new study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) has found.
According to the report titled “Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum”, the proportion of women in management ranges from 2.1 percent in Yemen to 59.3 percent in Jamaica, which tops the list.
In Asia, the highest ranking country is the Philippines at number 4 with 47.6 percent, followed by Mongolia with 41.9 percent in 17th place.
While trailing far behind these top countries, Vietnam is above several Asian peers in the rankings including Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
Japan, for instance, only has a 11 percent ratio.
Scholars and institutions over the past decade have been calling for the breaking of the so-called "glass ceiling" that prevents women from rising to top positions in management.
"Glass walls still exist with the concentration of women in certain types of management functions like human resource, communications and administration,” said Deborah France-Massin, director of the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities.
Data from the Global Women CEO Project, under France-based Intelligence Financial Research and Consulting, indicate that only 7 percent of the CEOs among more than 600 surveyed companies are women. Female board members account for 14 percent.
In Vietnam, up to 29.5 percent of employers are women, according to the 2013 Labor Force Survey. However, they are more likely to be found in micro and small-sized enterprises.
Getting more women to grow their businesses is not only critical for social equality, but also for national development, the authors of the ILO report suggest.
They underline that women and girls receive almost half of all educational resources, thus representing a significant proportion of the available talent pool.
It is not different in the case of Vietnam.
UNESCO data showed that among those with tertiary education, women outnumbered men in the period between 2007 and 2011.
Experts say that there is also evidence of many business benefits when companies tap into the talent pool that women represent – including being in tune with a consumer market increasingly driven by women.
“Supporting women to advance in their career is not only an issue of gender equality but also makes good business sense,” said ILO Vietnam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki.
“Promoting the diversity in management by having more women in top positions is key to increase companies’ productivity and competitiveness, thereby seizing the economic and social benefits of the country’s deepening integration.”