Gender Roles in the Family: Change and Stability in Vietnam
Starting in the latter part of the 1980s, Vietnam experienced a shift from a centrally planned to a market-based economy. Along with this economic reform, the government launched policies that opened Vietnam to the outside world, especially the non-Communist bloc, exposing Vietnamese society to the forces of economic and cultural globalization. Among the many features of family life potentially affected by these changes are gender roles, including the division of labor and responsibility between husbands and wives. The main goal of the study reported here is to document the nature and extent of change in gender relations within the Vietnamese family over the last 40 years. We base our examination on systematically collected data from an innovative and representative survey of three marriage cohorts in the Red River Delta. While the analysis is primarily descriptive, we also examine selected factors that potentially influence domestic gender relations and their trends. In particular we focus on the influence of urban versus rural residence, the role of others besides the married couple in the household, and the wife's educational attainment.