Study focuses on gender disparity in society

HÀ NỘI (VNS) — Being confined largely to the role of caregiver severely limits women’s opportunities in education, career development and social and political participation.

This has been pointed out in a study report o­n social determinants of gender inequality in Việt Nam, conducted by the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) with support from the Australian government, Ford Foundation and Oxfam Novib.
The document is based o­n findings drawn from a nationally representative survey conducted from 2012 to 2015, covering 8,424 women and men aged between 18 and 65 in nine cities and provinces, which are Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Thái Bình, besides Phú Thọ, Lâm Đồng, Bình Thuận and Vĩnh Long, as well as Tây Ninh.

Speaking at the report’s release ceremony yesterday morning o­n the occasion of International Women’s Day, Dr Khuất Thu Hồng, ISDS director, said the findings of the study explained why progress in gender equality did not keep pace with economic and social development in Việt Nam.

“Many Vietnamese people, despite having high education attainments or living in cities, still have 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 said.

According to the key findings of the research, women are more likely than men to be in groups with a lower secondary school education and lower (70.78 per cent and 60.28 per cent, respectively). Two-thirds of women, compared to o­ne quarter of men, reported they did regular housework during their childhood.

Another fact that has been revealed is that women’s caregiver role and the wide acceptance of the assumption that men are better as leaders are key barriers limiting women’s abilities to engage in socio-political activities.

The research team said to address gender inequality in Việt Nam, it was crucial to change traditional attitudes about the role of women; inspire women’s autonomy; and encourage leadership roles for women both within and outside the family context.

Hoàng Thị Ái Nhiên, permanent vice-president of the Việt Nam Women’s Union, said in order to achieve true gender equality, the government should have policies that support women in their caring responsibilities, and encourage men to share this role. The Việt Nam Women’s Union wants the whole society to work together to build and maintain new and progressive norms of men and women in both private and public spheres. — VNS