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Report finds some progress in gender equality

Update: December, 17/2014 - 09:27

According to a survey from the HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, in districts 3 and 10, women's average housework hours were 4.2 a day and for men, 3.6 hours a day. — Photo ktdt

by Gia Loc

HCM CITY (VNS) —  Gender equality in Vietnamese families has improved but only modestly, according to surveys that found husbands and wives sharing more of the housework as well as the responsibility for their children's education.

Nguyen Thi Lan Anh of Binh Thanh District, for example, says her husband often goes to the market and cooks whenever Anh is at her job. He also usually cleans the house.

"So housework, kitchen chores and our children's education do not cause stress for me. If I am free and go home earlier than my husband, I will cook. My husband will cook when he goes home earlier than me," she said.

Anh has also encouraged her two sons to help with the housework.

"Women should share housework with their husbands. We should believe that husbands can do these tasks well, just like us," she said.

Dr Van Thi Ngoc Lan, former head of Sociology and Development Centre, agreed with Anh, saying such sharing provided long-term happiness in families.

She said that more and more women work outside the home, and the prejudice that once existed about women's tasks no longer exists in modern society.

She cited surveys conducted by the Southern Sustainable Development Institute, Southern Institute of Social Sciences and Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences, showing that more husbands now cook, clean and take care of their children.

Unlike the past, wives also make decisions about buying or selling houses, land, cars and motorbikes, as well as how they will deliver their babies.

Another survey on tasks shared among family members conducted among young couples in HCM City by Pham Thi Ha Thuong, a lecturer at Ton Duc Thang University, also showed that the housework "burden" among women had shrunk. This has given them more time to improve their work at their jobs.

However, research on this issue in District 9, conducted by lecturer at Nguyen Thi Thu Trang of Ton Duc Thang University, showed that gender prejudice in families still exists in the community.

Housework and children's education continue to be the main tasks of women, and the average number of housework hours for women is higher than men's, the survey found.

According to a survey from the HCM City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, in districts 3 and 10, women's average housework hours were 4.2 a day and for men, 3.6 hours a day.

A 28-year-old teacher living in District 9 said that she gets up at 5am to clean, make breakfast and take her two children to school on the way to her school.

At 6 pm, she comes back from the school, cooks dinner and continues doing other housework. At 10pm, she is free and prepares her work for the next day.

"So tired," she said.

At a workshop on gender equality in families held yesterday (Dec 16) by the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, Tran Thi Nhu Phuong, head of the City Women's Union's law and policy committee, said that efforts to change women's awareness about gender equality needed to be strengthened.

Women should develop clever ways to involve their husband in housework and children's education, Phuong said, adding that communication to families on this issue would be enhanced in the near future.

Ta Xuan Hoai, lecturer at Ton Duc Thang University, said that mass media should take part in this issue as well.

He said that photos of men and women in families and the depicted roles they undertake in advertisements should be changed. — VNS

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