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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8930
JPY
USD
117.98
GBP
USD
0.6673
CAD
USD
1.2445
INR
USD
61.498

Rates may not be current.