News / Economy

Childcare Key for Working Women in Vietnam

FILE- A woman works at a yarn-weaving plant of the Ha Nam textile company in Phu Ly city, about 60 km (37 miles) south of Hanoi, July 4, 2013.
FILE- A woman works at a yarn-weaving plant of the Ha Nam textile company in Phu Ly city, about 60 km (37 miles) south of Hanoi, July 4, 2013.
While Vietnam still struggles with issues of work and gender, it has been making strides toward equality in its economy. Those attending a recent forum in Ho Chi Minh City said one of the secrets to the success is childcare.

When they go to the office, women here generally leave their children to be looked after by grandparents, live-in nannies, or employees at the country’s increasingly popular daycare centers. These affordable options allow women to maintain both work and family.

“I think conditions for women in Asia are much more favorable,” Belgian Ambassador to Vietnam Bruno Angelet said Thursday.

Speaking at a forum about women in business co-sponsored by his embassy, Angelet said that in Europe, working mothers have a much harder time affording daycare. That’s true for immigrants, as well. Angelet said that in Hanoi he often signs off on visas for Vietnamese who go to Belgium to look after the children of their sisters or their daughters.

Culture Matters

But several trends in Vietnamese society could soon make this advantage obsolete. First, couples are increasingly living away from their parents, either because they are more independent or because they move away to find work in the cities. With fewer and fewer three-generation homes in Vietnam, mothers can no longer rely on their own mothers to help raise their children.

Also, nannies and childcare facilities are cheap for now because Vietnam is still a low middle-income country. But as Vietnamese get richer, fewer may be willing to work as caretakers and these costs will rise.

 
Ton Nu Thi Ninh is among Vietnam's most prominent advocates of gender equality, having served as a diplomat and parliamentarian.Ton Nu Thi Ninh is among Vietnam's most prominent advocates of gender equality, having served as a diplomat and parliamentarian.
x
Ton Nu Thi Ninh is among Vietnam's most prominent advocates of gender equality, having served as a diplomat and parliamentarian.
Ton Nu Thi Ninh is among Vietnam's most prominent advocates of gender equality, having served as a diplomat and parliamentarian.
Ton Nu Thi Ninh, who organized the forum, responded by saying that as Vietnam evolves, it does not necessarily have to lose all of its traditional values.

“Culture matters,” said Ninh, a former diplomat and member of parliament who has become a leading advocate for women’s rights. “We should find our core strength and select what values to bring with us into the future,” she said.

Some of that strength is reflected in the data. According to the World Bank, Vietnam had a female labor force participation rate of 73 percent in 2012, compared with 57 percent in the United States and 64 percent in China.

Trade-offs

But not all is positive for Vietnamese working mothers. Even with better childcare options, many who climb the corporate ladder find many of the same challenges as their counterparts in the West.

“I have traded off my youth, my personal time for my business,” said Huynh Kim Phung, director of media and PR firm Truong Phat. “To be good and successful businesswomen, we have to spend a lot of time outside the family, and sometimes the trade-off is really hard.”

Eventually Phung convinced her husband to share some of the domestic duties, which forum-goers said is one area where Vietnam can make progress on gender equality. Men will have to do more chores and care for children to help their wives, especially if costly daycare becomes out of reach for average Vietnamese.

Attendees also discussed structural changes that Vietnam can make, from companies that institute quotas and internships to bring in more females, to public policies that support childcare and equal pay.

In 2012, Vietnam was one of the few countries where the pay gap increased between men and women, to as much as 30 percent, the International Labor Organization reported.

Nguyen Hong Ha, deputy general director at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the country needs a cultural shift to solve the problem.

“When children are born, they have no idea whether they must respect women or men,” she said. Instead, gender equality is learned, so Vietnamese have to teach not only males to do their share, but also females to believe they can do just as well as men, Ha said

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David.tran from: Vietnam
April 22, 2014 2:59 AM
Vietnam is very potential market to any investor but we should have right person to approach the market.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.