The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 69: Economic Transition and the Gender Wage Gap in Vietnam: 1992–2002

Amy Y.C. Liu


Amy Y.C. Liu Introduction This chapter examines changes in the gender wage gap from 1992 to 2002 during which period an increase in economic openness has come to be part of Vietnam’s reform process. While economic openness is associated with high growth, the benefits of such growth may not be gender-neutral as is sometimes assumed. Some studies find a decrease in the prices of agricultural goods produced by women, a ‘masculinisation’ of typically female employment such as in the textile industry, and a widening of the gender wage gap (for instance, Nicita and Razzar, 2003). Yet, other studies have shown that openness is beneficial to women, since it leads to less employer discrimination and a feminisation of the comparatively high-paid manufacturing sector. For instance, Oostendorp (2002) finds (trade) openness reduces gender wage gaps. These mixed results indicate that the effect of openness on women’s relative economic position could depend on factors that are not traditionally considered as gender related, such as the industrial composition of the liberalisation process, and the initial conditions of the economy (see Fontana, 2003). My chapter uses Vietnam as a case study to apply the inter-temporal decomposition method of Juhn et al. (1991) to examine explicitly the relationship between the degree of market reform (openness) and the gender pay gap by constructing a variable of the share of foreign-invested firms (joint ventures and 100 per cent foreign-owned companies) at the provincial level as a measure of openness. It addresses an important policy question, namely do women...

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