Vietnamese women still expected to sacrifice career for family: study

Thanh Nien News

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 A contestant shows her creation among the entries for a contest on designing greeting cards held in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 on March 6, 2016 to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The teenager said she will present the card for her mother. Photo: Nhu Lich
 It seems that after years of struggle life has become much easier for Vietnamese woman. But a new study suggests otherwise, arguing that misperceptions continue to create many obstacles for true gender equality. 
The study, conducted by the Institute for Social Development Studies between 2012 and 2015 and released Monday, found that 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. 
They are also seen as more likely to accept to stay at home or work 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,” the study said.
As these things are often deeply internalized, many Vietnamese women are willing to compromise their own well-being and professional advancement, which “severely limits women’s opportunities in education, career development, and social and political participation,” it said.
Dr. Khuat Thu Hong, director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, said the findings of the study explain why progress in gender equality does not keep pace with economic and social developments in Vietnam.
“Many Vietnamese people, despite having high education attainments or living in cities, still maintain traditional attitudes regarding the roles of men and women,” she said in a statement. “They continue to prefer sons over daughters and believe that women’s core value lies in sacrifice for their family.”
The study said 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 and outside the family context.
Deputy Head of Mission Layton Pike from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam said in a statement that he believed the study “provides useful facts and recommendations for policy makers to help reduce gender inequalities across the economic, social and political lives of Vietnamese women.”
The Australian Government, along with the Ford Foundation and Oxfam Novib, are donors of the study, which were conducted with 8,424 men and women in 9 provinces and cities in Vietnam.

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