Research Paper on Status of Women in Vietnam
Transforming gender relations to enable women to participate equally in all areas in the male-dominated societies of developing countries has remained a monumental task.
Because many governments are hierarchical in nature and are comprised mainly of men, they endorse the ’domesticity’ of women and the unpaid services women provide for the family. For example, in her analysis of the Vietnamese society, Christine Pelzer White argues that a state “is itself a product of that which it governs and is deeply influenced by the ’traditional’ attitudes that it is attempting to transform”.
This explains the difficulties that both socialist and capitalist states face in trying to initiate and implement policies on sexual equality. Various studies have noted that the situation of women is not significantly better in countries that have official policies promoting sexual equality or increased opportunities for women.
The studies have noted that there exists a divergence between theory and practical implementation of the declared equality policies enshrined in national constitutions. For example, the status of women has not improved in any significant way in developing socialist countries such as Cuba, China, Tanzania, Mozambique, Algeria and South Yemen (Patriarchy interacts with existing economic and political structures which, Sen argues, “are highly inequitable between nations, classes, genders, and ethnic groups”.
In this respect, women are pushed further to the periphery of development; overburdened by the dual roles of production and reproduction; and excluded from the political decision-making process. Women are vulnerable because male domination denies or limits their access to economic resources and at the same time imposes a sexual division of labor under which women perform the “most onerous, labor-intensive and poorly rewarded tasks inside and outside the home”.
Gender inequalities inherent in developing societies enhance the exploitation and discrimination against women in formal and informal sectors. The exploitation of, and discrimination against, women is intense in these countries because most of them are not only politically unstable but also economically insecure. In fact, the situation of women in these societies is reported to be deteriorating.