In Vietnam, the gender gap in the overall labour market has been narrowed significantly in the period 2010-2020, but the gender gap in access to quality employment and career development
remained very large: women made up a larger proportion compared to men in the informal employment sector, or in the same occupation, women earned less than men. Is it because women have lower qualifications? Is it because of women’s less labour market participation? Or is it because women work fewer hours? It is partially because of the burden of unpaid care and domestic work on women’s shoulders. Based on the results of the 2020 Labour Force Survey (LFS), the International Labour Organization in Vietnam (ILO Vietnam) frankly provided a judgment that: ‘It would be unrealistic for women to be able to continuously pursue career or capacity building opportunities like men if they are still burdened with household responsibilities and unpaid care work which have always been heavier than those of men.’ – ILO 2020.
According to the results of the 2020 LFS, on average, women spent about 20.1 hours per week on unpaid care and domestic work (UCDW), nearly twice as much as men (10.7 hours per week). In EM
communities, this gap is even larger and becomes one of the obstacles preventing EM women from participating equally in the labour market. A study by the World Bank on analysing the drivers of socio-economic development among the ethnic minority (EM) groups with the top and bottom socio-economic development performances showed that UCDW is an important obstacle to the economic development opportunities of EM women. ‘Social norms – especially regarding women’s traditional domestic work roles – impact their participation in off-farm economic activities’ – World Bank 2019. Thus, it is clear that the UCDW burden is one of the factors that increase the gender gap in livelihoods and income in EM areas.
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