Determinants of Female's Employment Outcomes in Vietnam

By An, Ngo Quynh; Kazuyo, Yamada | Journal of International Women's Studies, May 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Determinants of Female's Employment Outcomes in Vietnam


An, Ngo Quynh, Kazuyo, Yamada, Journal of International Women's Studies


Introduction

Vietnamese women have historically been economically empowered. They have a long tradition of participating actively in the labor force. In 2016, about 72.5 percent of women were part of the labor force, higher than in most of the world (GSO, 2017). Moreover, women and men are increasingly more equal, and women are better educated, independent and autonomous. Women are nowadays in professions traditionally dominated by men (GSO, 2017).

However, working women are not a homogeneous group. While some of the women take advantage of integration opportunities to get higher significant steps on the occupational hierarchy, others continue locking in the lower position of all professional and unskilled works (ADB 2005, ILO and IFC, 2012; Nguyen et al 2014). Many working women do low-paying jobs in export dependency factories (women account for 80% labor in the textile and garment industry). Most of the female labor force was supported by the self-employed and unpaid work which are not protected by social security (66.6% of informal sector labor is accounted by women) (GSO, 2017).

In order to improve the female employment outcomes, it's necessary to consider the incentives and restrictions that affect Vietnamese women's employment outcomes. However, the existing theories and empirical analyses in Vietnam are limited and fragmented. Most studies focus on limited labor types such as youth, informal workers, in which women are included (Ngo et al 2011; Nguyen et al 2015). Other research that examines commune and individual level variables that influence wage-paid labor just focus on rural women (Phuong, 2016).

In this study, we fill the research gaps and contribute to the field in important ways. We present an encompassing social-economic theoretical framework that addresses the multitude of influences on women's employment choices. This framework distinguishes among conditions affecting women's choices that included personal labor supply and demand sides and are presented with the needs, opportunities, and values of working. It also reflects that the women's labor market isn't homogeneous. Besides, Vietnam's 2010 Household Living Standards Survey is used with 11.085 women aged 15 and older who have employment in multinomial logistic regression. Such an analysis matters because the employment difference based on gender, ethnicity, or wealth groups undermine the ability to achieve the higher quality of life for women and their families. Furthermore, the inequalities in employment attainment can have impacts on the social productivity and the full utilization of the country's resources. The research questions addressed are: What are the women's employment outcomes in Vietnam? Which factors are the (major) determinants of women's employment outcomes?

Next, the theoretical framework is made in more detail and connects with the existing literature. After discussing the data and methods, we first show descriptive figures about the variation in women's employment in Vietnam. Subsequently, the multinomial logistic regression outcomes are presented. The results section is concluded with an analysis of how the effect of women's education is shaped. We finish the paper with a discussion of the major findings and their implications.

Literature Review and Comprehensive Framework

The current Vietnamese research on women's employment is dominated by a macro-level perspective that shows the integration context factors impacting on women's labor supply and demand. Firstly, the research shows that the shift of economic activities toward the service sector and part-time employment, which favor female labor, as well as the increase in returns to education, has led to an expansion of married women and mothers' labor force participation, an increase in the opportunity cost of educated women staying out of the labor force. Foreign-invested capital in export-oriented and labor-intensive industries such as the textile and clothing or food processing industries offers opportunities including entry-level jobs for unskilled women labor in Vietnam. …

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