Women in the transitional economy of Vietnam.
In Vietnam,w omena ccountf or nearly5 2 percenot f thet otal populationo f approximately
68.1m illion. The statuso f womenh asg raduallye volvedf tom a subordinationp ositionb egun
under the feudal Chinese Period and continued during the period of colonisation, to a more
equitables tatusi n present-dayV ietnam. During the war of reunification,V ietnamesew omen
werep ut in a dynamics ituationw heret heyh adt o operatea t parw ith men. Thew ar whichl asted
well overa decadec, reateda no pportunityf or themt o participatein whatw asa traditionallym ale
dominateds phereo f activity. Subsequentlyth, e societyr eciprocatedb y grantingw omenb asic
rightst raditionallyr eservedfo r mena ndt he constitutiona ndl egislationo f then ew independent
state was clear about supporting the rights of women. Although Vietnam does lag behind
economicallyc omparedto mostd evelopingc ountriesa ndt he industrialw orld, in many domains
includingm atemalm ortality,l ife expectancyn,u mbero f womenc omparedto men in the labour
force,p arliamentarrye presentatioann dl iteracyr ates,t he gap is minimal, andi n somei nstances
surpassese ven figures of women in the developedi ndustrial countries. Following the
reunificationw ar (southa ndn orth Vietnam),T he SocialistR epublico f Vietnamh as beenr uled
by theV ietnamesCe ommunisPt artyu ndera regimeo f neo-StalinisCt entraPl lanning. Sincet he
1980sV, ietnamh asb eeng raduallym ovingt o a markete conomy.I n 1987w ith the introduction
of Doi Moi (economic recovery programme), the Government committed to transform the
countryi nto a socialistm arkete conomy. However,w hile progresst owardsa markete conomy
is gradually evolving, a disturbing trend is emerging: it appears that women are being
marginaliseedc onomically.O f thew orkforcem ader edundanitn 1990,70p ercentw erew omen.
Most enterprisesa,n d evena dministrativeo fficesn ow put womena t a disadvantageO. ftens uch
discriminationsa re linked with maternityl eavea nd relatede ntitlementsa ccordedt o women
This thesiss etso ut to examinet he following hypothesesa: ) to ascertainw hethert he
status of women in Vietnam as compared to that of other women regionally and globally is
relativelyp ositive; b) to examinet hen atuTeo f the impacto f the emergingm arket economyo n
their status;a nd c) to ascertainth e effectso f small and mediums calei ndustryo n that impact,
either negative or positive.
The research methodology employed to test the above hypotheses consists of a
combinationo f methodsc omprisinga nalysiso f archival informationa ndm ultiple cases tudies
with two questionnairecso mplementebdy exploratory,e xplanatorya ndd escriptives trategies.
The empirical phase is based on two case studies of two small-medium sized industries in
Vietnam.T hesep articularc ompaniews eres electedm ainlyb ecauseth eyc ontaineda high female
representatiofnro m the textile industry ast hey traditionally employw omen. The resultso f the
surveysc onductedf or CaseS tudyA and CaseS tudyB are analysedto identify the statusa nd
aspirationos f womenw orking in a small-mediums izedi ndustry. Sociala nd cultural aspectso f
these women are also explored.
In conclusion, the thesis wraps up the findings of the surveys and draws summations from
the literature reviewed. It also offers recommendations aimed at empowering women in
overcoming economic difficulties in order to maintain their social equality.