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Roadmap needed to fix gender inequality in leadership roles

Update: July, 01/2014 - 10:07

A proposed increase in the number of senior female leaders by the Ministry of Home Affairs aims to correct gender inequality, deputy director Ngo Thanh Can told Khoa hoc & Doi song (Science and Life).

A draft decree prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) suggests that all ministries, except the Ministries of Public Security and National Defence, should have a woman in a senior position. Can you explain the rationale behind this move?

The government has for a long time wished to further promote women's role in state management. Reading the draft document, I feel that it focuses on gender equality, not a change in the role women play in their families.

Since men dominate senior positions now, what impact would a change in this situation have?

In reality, women account for 20-25 per cent of leadership positions in our country. In my opinion, this ratio is OK in management activities. We have to carefully consider management quality when we make any decision.

In your own experience, between male and female leaders, who does their job better?

It depends on each individual. Generally speaking men are more domineering. They tend to make decisions quicker than their female peers. They also have more time to devote to work, which is why more men are elected leaders, even in an office where there are more women.

So do you think MoHA draft decree is workable?

Well, if we conduct a survey asking women to choose between having more time to take care of their families or to engage in social activities, I think most of the respondents will say "my family is more important than social activities."

Does that mean it is not feasible?

It depends on the interpretation of the proposal by each person. It is difficult to achieve the target, because it is just a number that we should strive for. If we aggressively try to achieve it, we might not get the expected results.

So I suggest there should be a road map for it.

In our country at present, female leaders at ministry/sector can be counted on the fingers of one hand. So if more women leaders are appointed/elected, what are the benefits they will bring about?

It is very difficult for me to answer the question.

I'm lucky to have been able to visit many offices inside and outside Viet Nam where female staff or female leaders are dominant. I have noticed that the working atmosphere in an office headed by a female leader in tranquil and everyone works very hard. And in such an office, the next leader will likely be woman too.

Some people have complained that working with female leaders is more difficult. What do you think?

No, I don't agree. It depends. — VNS

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