A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Jawad Syed
Chapter 13: Gender Equity in a Male-dominated Industry: The Case of the Steel Industry in Vietnam
Anne Vo and Glenda Strachan However wise a woman is, she is still a woman However foolish a man is, he is still a man (Vietnamese proverb) Introduction In the past two decades Vietnamese society and economy has undergone major changes with the move from a centralised, planned economy to a market-oriented one. These transformations have brought about noticeable changes in gender relations, and, as the National Committee for the Advancement of Women (NCFAW, 2000: 5) comments, ‘Vietnam is a nation where gender is in transition’ (see also Franklin, 1999). This chapter focuses on one of the major implications for these changes, that is what is happening in relation to women’s employment and career advancement in Vietnam. Some dimensions of diversity management such as race, culture, age, religion and disability, have become increasingly important in the transitional Vietnam, however, gender remains the key one considering the significance of women’s contribution to the country’s economy. Despite its importance, the issue of gender has often been overlooked in critiques of the economic and social transition in Vietnam (Long et al., 2000). Characteristics of women’s work and issues of employment equity have been noticeable by their absence in the literature. This chapter focuses on issues for women workers in one industry sector and discusses the issues women face in managerial and professional positions. Given its unique political history, Vietnam presents a particular case of change for women’s employment. It presents a unique blend of Confucianism accompanied by a high women’s labour force participation...
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