Challenges women face and advantages they bring to the Vietnamese workplace

April 21, 2021 | 10:00
Despite social progress reported across the board in Vietnam, career starter women are still embarking on corporate careers with an intimidating glass ceiling looming above. Mylan Holland, research assistant from EquestAsia, reports.
1540 p27 challenges women face and advantages they bring to the vietnamese workplace
Mylan Holland, research assistant from EquestAsia

Women across the world face different treatment from men on account of their gender, receiving less for the same work and being blocked from rising to the top. Here is how the job market seems for women just graduating university and looking to rise up the corporate ladder.


Wage gap

Often, women are paid less than men for the same work. Research conducted by Oxfam revealed that women in Vietnam are paid around 11 per cent less than men for the same type of job. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index rankings, Vietnam is ranked at 87 out of 153 countries.

Senior levels

Research by the International Monetary Fund shows that almost 80 per cent of women and 86.4 per cent of men contribute to the Vietnamese workforce, however not many women make it to senior, supervisory, and managerial positions. There are also visible gender disparities in sectors such as IT, engineering, architecture, and politics, which are dominated by men.

These gender disparities within certain sectors exist despite the legal provisions preventing gender preferences throughout recruitment and hiring. This lack of female representation in senior positions in business and politics means matters concerning women are not being approached with a female perspective and changes in favour of women are not being made.

Unpaid hours

A survey conducted by the Labour Ministry and ActionAid found that Vietnamese women spend an average of five hours a day on unpaid work such as household chores and childcare while men spare around three hours. This is due to the societal and cultural notions that women are homemakers and should take care of housework, not men.

1540 p27 challenges women face and advantages they bring to the vietnamese workplace
Photo: Shutterstock

Benefits of hiring women

Increased GDP and company growth

Unfortunately, gender parity is still of concern, as many companies still do not view gender diversity as a priority, because they do not see the benefits. However, a study conducted by the World Economic Forum revealed that closing the gender gap could increase a countries’ GDP by an average of 35 per cent. While 80 per cent of this effect comes from adding more workers to the labour force, 20 per cent is directly due to increased productivity as a result of gender diversity.

A study conducted by McKinsey revealed that when executive teams are gender diverse the teams were 21 per cent more likely to outperform in terms of profitability and 27 per cent more likely to have superior value creation.

Improved work environment

Many studies show that women create a better work environment as well as boost overall employee morale. They also show that women are better communicators, negotiators, and analysers than men. This can be attributed to women’s greater sense of empathy, compassion, and willingness to communicate and receive feedback that in turn contribute to resolving disputes.

A study conducted by the Centre for Creative Leadership showed that workplaces with more women experience greater job satisfaction, less burnout, and higher organisational dedication.

Female perspective

In relation to consumer goods women are the main consumers. Studies reveal that women account for 85 per cent of all consumer purchases, including 66 per cent of computers and 65 per cent of cars. Seeing as how women are the largest consumer base, it seems only logical to employ women in the product development process allowing companies to understand and cater to this large consumer group.

In relation to politics and business, a large majority of government officials and business leaders are men, therefore decisions that affect women are made by men.

A lack of women in top positions in business and politics means that the rules are unlikely to change in their favour. There are 20 ministers in the current Vietnamese government and only one of them is female.

The benefits listed are only a few many women could bring to the workforce and Vietnam. Once further steps are taken towards propelling gender parity in Vietnam and removing behavioural and societal barriers against women, Vietnam’s economy and society will benefit as a whole.

It has been demonstrated that gender parity has a strong positive impact on GDP growth per capita over time, and this growth can be attributed to increasing numbers of women entering STEM fields, higher labour market participation, as well as lower gender pay gaps.

As our societal views on the role of women change and evolve, so too must the workplace reflect these views and strive towards equality.

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