The Gender Division of Household Labor in Vietnam: Cohort Trends and Regional Variations

Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, Singapore Management University
John Knodel, University of Michigan
Vu Tuan Huy, Institute of Sociology
Vu Manh Loi, Vietnam Institute of Sociology

We address the extent of change and regional differences in gender roles in the family in northern and southern Vietnam. The similarities and differences in political, economic and social histories between the two regions provide a compelling setting to investigate the impact of socialist policies and the recent shift from a centrally-planned to a market economy on gender stratification in the domestic spheres. We assess determinants of the gender division of household labor among marriage cohorts that underwent early marital years during (1) the Vietnam War, (2) socialist collectivization, and (3) market reform. We find that Vietnamese wives still do the majority of housework. Therefore, government efforts to change gender roles have had limited success. Husbands in the most recent marriage cohort, however, are more involved in household-budget management and childcare than those in earlier cohorts. Contrary to prior claims, evidence does not suggest that gender equality in the Vietnamese household has deteriorated after the market reform.

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Presented in Session 141: Family Change in Developing Countries