Babeth Ngoc Han Lefur, Country Director of Oxfam in Vietnam As regional business leaders convene in Hanoi next week for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, they have an opportunity to learn from Vietnam’s successes and shortcomings on promoting equality between men and women. Vietnam has among the most progressive gender equality laws in Asia. It was among the first countries to ratify the U.N.’s CEDAW convention on women’s rights in 1982, and Vietnamese women’s labor force participation of over 73 percent is one of the highest in the region. And yet Vietnamese women are mostly found in unskilled and untrained labor-intensive sectors. They earn 33 percent less on average than their male counterparts in all fields, with the biggest difference of 43 percent found in agriculture and foreign companies. In government, only one out of 20 ministers is female, and 89 out of 1048 department directors. Globally, more men than women own land, shares and other capital assets, men are paid more for doing the same roles as women, and men are concentrated in higher paid jobs. Social norms, attitudes and beliefs devalue the status and abilities of women, justify violence and discrimination against them, and dictate which jobs… Read full this story
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