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Vietnamese men in cities more open to sharing housework with women: report

Younger men in urban areas tend to be more open to negotiating the sharing of housework, to their spouses working outside the home and to making shared large purchase decisions with their partners,

a new report on men’s views on gender equality and social expectations shows.

Gender experts discuss the important role of men in advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam at the report's launching ceremony on Wednesday in Hanoi. — Photo courtesy of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam

“These are signs of a positive shift from the traditional divisions of labour,” Dr Khuat Thu Hong, head of the Institute of Social Development Studies (ISDS) and one of the researchers, said.

The report titled ‘Men and Masculinities in a Globalising Vietnam’ is the first large-scale study on men and masculinities in Vietnam and was conducted by ISDS with support from the National Foundation for Science and Technology of Vietnam (NAFOSTED) and Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian government.

It interviewed roughly 2,500 working-age Vietnamese men living in Hanoi, HCM City and Khanh Hoa and Hoa Binh provinces about their views on masculinity and gender equality.

A quarter of the men surveyed by ISDS said they feel pressured to conform to societal expectations of their gender roles.

Among the men who said they felt life pressures, 80 per cent attributed it to financial concerns while 70 per cent cited the push to do well in their careers.

While noting the prevalence of traditional masculinity norms, ISDS also pointed to positive shifts in the perceptions of gender roles.

“38.8 per cent of urban men aged 18 to 29 share cooking with their spouses compared with 24.2 per cent among those 60 years old or older,” Dr Hong said.

Speaking at the report launching event on Wednesday, Lucy Phillips, First Secretary for Economic and Development Co-operation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, said the report highlights the important role of men in advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam.

“This is the first large-scale study on this issue in Vietnam, and shows us how important it is to engage men in the conversation about women’s empowerment in all societies,” Phillips said, adding that the report comes at a crucial time, as Vietnam recovers from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“The findings suggest that urbanisation, educational achievements, and improved economic conditions are helping to challenge stereotypes, and better enable both men and women to achieve their full potential both at home and in the workplace,” Phillips said.  VNS

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