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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9220
JPY
USD
119.88
GBP
USD
0.6757
CAD
USD
1.2640
INR
USD
62.626

Rates may not be current.