Equality and discrimination in Viet Nam

More efforts are needed to make gender equality in the world of work a reality.

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Promoting decent work and income for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity, is one of the key priorities of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. Integrating gender concerns into employment promotion and creation contributes to more effective boosting of productivity and economic growth; human resources development; sustainable development; and reduce poverty. Worldwide progress has been made over the last few decades in increasing women’s labour force participation and narrowing gender income gaps, but more efforts are needed to make gender equality in the world of work a reality.

In Viet Nam, just like in the developing world in general, women continue to form a large majority of the working poor, earn less income, and are more often affected by under- and un-employment and precarious working conditions than men. Women in Viet Nam are principally found in lower paid occupational sectors or in vulnerable employment. The majority of women work as unpaid family workers, and in largely "invisible" areas of informal employment as migrant domestic workers, homeworkers, street vendors and in the entertainment industry.

Women's position in the labour market is largely affected by socio-economic disadvantages caused by gender-based discrimination. Vietnamese women often have less access to productive resources, education, and skills development and labour market opportunities than men. In great part, this is because society assigns both a lower status and most of the unpaid care work to Vietnamese women, and expects them to engage in productive work in subsistence agriculture and the market economy.

The ILO and Vietnamese constituents have long cooperated on promoting gender equality among male and female workers in the country. Current joint efforts are geared at increasing women’s opportunities to enterprise development; preventing labour exploitation of (migrant) children and women; and strengthening the equality dimension in labour legislation such as prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination, and promoting equal pay for work of equal value, action against sexual harassment and equalizing the retirement ages for women and men.

Related ILO Conventions Viet Nam has ratified include:

Key resources: