Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation

By Mina Roces; Louise Edwards | Go to book overview

14 Re-gendering Vietnam: from
militant to market socialism

Esta Ungar

Department of History
University of Western Australia

The two most pronounced changes in gender relations in modern Vietnamese history occurred in two stages.First, when the socialist system was established (in the north from 1954 and then throughout the country from 1975), and second, from 1986 to the present, when the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) declared a new economic program along the lines of a market economy.Born out of war with the French, Socialist Vietnam developed a state structure while at war with the USA and its client regimes in the south.It declared a socialist ideology based on reducing traditional class and gender divisions. Socialist ideology, combined with wartime policies, led to what I term below a 'de‐ gendering' of the economic and political sphere up to 1973. After 1973, in a period of relative peace, the state reaffirmed socialist principles, at the same time retreating from the policies of gender equality pursued earlier, particularly in the political and social spheres. In economic terms it remained committed to gender equality, especially in agricultural work at the commune level.

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