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New Report Paints Grim Picture of Gender Inequality in Vietnam's Work Environment

The research, conducted by Financial Times Confidential Research, surveyed 5,000 urban respondents in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the findings, 30% of the study's female respondents reported that their salary is lower than that of their male counterparts. About the same percentage also said that there are fewer opportunities for women. 

This observation of unequal opportunities is particularly prevalent for people in the 25-35 age group, the Financial Times emphasized. Despite being young and well-educated, women within the age group are held back by societal pressures to marry and have kids.

The survey also found that, among the five countries, Vietnam has the lowest female-to-male ratio in top management roles with one woman for every eight men, which means that only 11.1% of top-level roles are occupied by women. Indonesia ranked highest with a 1 to 1.2 ratio, followed by Thailand (1:2.2), the Philippines (1:2.8) and Malaysia (1:5.6).

As one looks lower down within company hierarchies, the gaps become much smaller. For Vietnam, the female-to-male ratio in middle management positions is 1 to 2.1, and 1 to 0.9 in staff roles. This trend can also be observed in other countries.

The Financial Times report provides a less positive picture of workplace gender equality compared to several that preceded it. In June 2017, audit and consulting giant Delloit released a global-wide report assessing the state of women's leadership. It suggested that the percentage of female board members in Vietnam was 17.6%. The figures were based on the analysis of 50 Vietnamese companies.

A report in September of last year from Boston Consulting Group also suggested a positive state of gender diversity in Vietnam. It stated that 25% of CEOs' positions are held by women. However, the number was drawn from a 2011's report from International Labour Organization and might be outdated.

Last year's World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index might provide insight into the discrepancies. Although the index also suggests that the high participation of women in top-level positions is one of Vietnam's strong points, the statement is only true for the private sector. On the political domain, Vietnam fairs poorly in terms of women participation in ministerial and other leadership positions.  

[Photo via VnExpress]

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