Libmonster ID: U.S.-1442
Author(s) of the publication: CHAN THI MI LUONG
Educational Institution \ Organization: Voronezh State Pedagogical University

Since ancient times, Vietnam has been influenced by Confucianism, the cult of ancestors, family and clan. The worldview of the Vietnamese people was also formed under the influence of local Eastern and Buddhist traditions. And as in most Eastern countries, the position of women in the clan, tribal community was secondary, belittled, not to mention in the whole society, within which the woman was never perceived as an independent social unit and, with the rarest exceptions, could not show her individuality. An unwanted child in a family headed by a father who always craved sons, the girl clearly felt her inferiority from an early age. Of course, the current democratic processes in Vietnamese society could not but affect this situation, and yet, the previous ideas are deeply ingrained in the minds of Vietnamese people.

Our research, which was conducted for two years (2005-2006), is devoted to studying the problems of Vietnamese women and interpersonal marital relations in the modern Vietnamese family.

Historically, a monogamous Vietnamese family was ruled by a father and included his descendants, their wives and children, and domestic slaves. The law required wives to fully adapt to the character of their spouses, and husbands to manage their wives as necessary property.

The relationship between the spouses presupposed a clear awareness of each of their place: the husband - to take on the burden and responsibility of being the head, and the wife-to humbly take the secondary place assigned to her.

The purpose of marriage was to strengthen the family (preferably consisting of males). There was a clear division of roles that determined the importance of men and women. Naturally, men had more freedom and value in the eyes of society. Women had no social status, and all decisions were made by men.

The family was built on the relationship of man to man, father to son, master to heir. Raising a boy is first of all the formation of the future head, who is responsible for the family. Therefore, even today they are especially happy about the appearance of a son-the successor of the family, the helper of the father and the support of parents in old age.

In the context of the rise of the democratic movement in the country in the post-war years, a number of laws of the Civil Code regulating marital relations were significantly changed, in particular, related to various issues of family relations between spouses, which should now be based on equality of their rights (in accordance with Article 33 of the Family and Marriage Code).

The family in Vietnam, as in many other countries, is evolving, its basis is increasingly formed by the personal and emotional relations of spouses, the primary importance of love and warmth is emphasized.

In our socio-psychological study, we conducted a survey of 100 people, and the question: "What are the most important family values for you?* the following answers were given: love-35%; children-30%; help, care-18%; mutual understanding-8%; material well-being-8%; sex-1%.

A similar kind of sociological research in 2006 was conducted on the web-site To the question: "What do you want to get from your spouse?", out of 700 women surveyed, they answered: psychological support-45.5%; help with household chores-8%; a lot of money-5%; tender words and declarations of love - 4%; fulfillment of wishes - 3%; flowers and gifts to the family. holidays - 3%; for all possible answers-31.5%.

The development of the Vietnamese family is characterized by a certain ambivalence. On the one hand, the desire for a traditional division of roles between husband and wife with a low level of "technologization" of domestic work (a small amount of household appliances). On the other hand, the desire to live "in a new way "("like a master")-with long conversations at the table, refinement of things, free leisure. Women who participate in productive extra-family work bear a "double burden" by continuing to run a household. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in the Vietnamese family there is a gradual transformation of male and female roles.

A transformative effect on marital relations is exerted by the increasing involvement of married women in employment, which objectively leads to a weakening of their material dependence on their husbands, and consequently to the equalization of their legal status in the family. Today, women in Vietnam are actively involved in all the various social, political, and creative spheres of life, combining these various activities with the function of motherhood. In 2005, Vietnamese women accounted for 27% of the country's government jobs.

Despite the constitutional equality of the sexes, discrimination still persists in the country.-

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discrimination of women both in public life and in the family. Long-standing national customs and traditions that affirm the primacy of men have a strong influence on the social consciousness, psychology and morals of Vietnamese people. As a result, the idea of the dominant position of the husband in the family is still deeply rooted in the minds of Vietnamese ordinary people.

To our survey question: "In your opinion, in what areas are modern women not equal with men?" out of 200 women answered: 29% - in sexual matters; 28% - in the distribution of household chores; 16.5% - in choosing a profession; 14.5% - in managing at work; 4% - in deciding when to have a child; 1% - in raising children; 7% - in other areas.

In the modern Vietnamese family, according to the deep-rooted previous ideas about the status roles of men and women, a man appears as a creative, professional, knowledgeable person, able to make decisions and win victories alone. His actions change the world around him. It is self-sufficient. A woman appears as a limited, dependent, domestic being.

To investigate this issue, we asked the following questions: "Do you want to marry a girl( marry a man) who has a higher (lower)education what do you have?" (100 men and 100 women participated in the survey). Among men, 48% of respondents said yes if I love her; 33% - no; 19% - I doubt it. Among women, 48% of respondents answered-never; 52% - yes, if I love him. According to the survey, almost half of Vietnamese girls do not want to marry men who have a lower education level than they do, and vice versa, half of Vietnamese men do not want to marry girls who have a higher education level than they do.

Most Vietnamese women see their husband as the ruler of the family, as evidenced and promoted by the generally accepted norms of communication of Vietnamese people, and the attitude of the press to this issue. For example, wives usually help their husbands, not their husbands, to put on their coats, shoes, and hats; husbands, not their wives, go first through the doors of public institutions; when married couples meet, it is the husbands, not the wives, who are supposed to enter the conversation first, and so on.

In Vietnamese families, it is not customary to show their feelings, especially in the presence of strangers and even their own children. In the presence of strangers, husbands talk to their wives rudely, so that others think that they are bossy in the house, although this is often not true. Wives, on the other hand, try to convince others that their only goal in life is to obey their husband's every wish, which is also not true these days. Violence remains one of the major problems of the modern Vietnamese family. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Psychological Center, 95% of divorces in 2005 were related to domestic violence.

We came up with a question: "Who is the most important person in your family?" people of both sexes (100 men and 100 women participated in the survey) and received the following responses:: husband - 39%; children-16%; wife-8%; all family members-37%.

Times are changing, and nowadays in Vietnam it is rare to find such "classic" families, where the duties of husbands engaged in self-employment or in private entrepreneurship are limited only to working outside the home. Currently, half of Vietnamese married women are engaged in non-domestic work activities. Therefore, their husbands, one way or another, have to do household chores. But the power of tradition is still strong enough to have a noticeable impact on the distribution of marital responsibilities in families: wives, including self-employed ones, still bear the brunt of household chores. Vietnamese married men spend less time at home than married men, for example, in the United States, Germany, France, and Russia.

It is significant that today the system of traditional division of marital responsibilities, which allows many husbands to avoid household chores, is perceived critically by a significant part of married women.

The views of Vietnamese women who are dissatisfied with their position in their families today find many supporters among the progressive-minded representatives of the male part of the country's population.

Research conducted on the website, covered 1,500 people. To the question:

"What is the most common cause of conflicts between you (spouses)?" The following responses were received: 28% - trifles; 15% - relatives; 12% - family budget; 12% - sexual life; 12% - indifferent attitude to family problems; 11% - raising children; 10% - drunkenness, gambling...

To be fair, it should be noted that in the country as a whole, not all Vietnamese husbands are among the opponents of men's participation in housework. Guided by their own progressive views, yielding to the pressure of their spouse, or simply out of love for their wives, many of them, especially those who live separately from their parents with their wife and children, provide their wives with all possible assistance in household chores. Moreover, this trend is increasing in young modern families.

To the question (500 men were interviewed): "How do you show love for your spouse?" the following responses were received: 28% - provide psychological support; 14% - try to earn a lot of money; 10% - help with household chores; 6% - fulfill her wishes; 4.5% - talk about my love for her; 4.5% - give flowers, gifts for the holidays; 33% - for everything possible responses.

It should be noted that women's domestic work in modern Vietnam has undergone significant quantitative and qualitative changes compared to the pre-war period and the first post-war years. The time spent by Vietnamese wives on necessary household chores has been significantly reduced. This is due to the fact that, firstly, families are not as numerous as before, and, secondly, time-saving electrical appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, automatic rice cookers, etc. have appeared in homes, and, thirdly, the range of food semi-finished products is growing in the country's retail network. Together, all this has led to the fact that gradually over the past one and a half to two decades, women are freeing up more and more free time.

A closer analysis of the Vietnamese reality shows that the traditional system of division of responsibilities between husbands-breadwinners who work outside the home, and wives-housewives who do household chores, does not create an atmosphere of mutual understanding between spouses.

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The peculiarity of the relationship of Vietnamese spouses is precisely that most of them avoid spending their free time together, preferring to relax and have fun separately. Many Vietnamese couples either do not practice much or do not practice going out to the movies together, visiting their spouse friends, or having fun together with friends.

According to a number of Vietnamese psychologists and sociologists, the reason for this disunity lies in national traditions, according to which husbands and wives have long spent their leisure time separately in Vietnam, based on the premise that men's interests and entertainment are one, and women's are another.

The power of tradition cannot, of course, be absolutized. There are also objective factors in modern Vietnamese reality that prevent husbands and wives from spending time together. One of the reasons for this separation of spouses is that many Vietnamese wives who are burdened with caring for young children, even if they want to have fun together with their husbands, cannot leave the house without leaving their children unattended. However, the results of mass surveys indicate that a significant number of Vietnamese married women in this issue assume that their tastes and inclinations do not coincide with those of their husbands and that they will not enjoy joint entertainment.

This passive attitude of a significant part of Vietnamese wives to joint recreation and entertainment with their husbands is probably affected not only by domestic difficulties that prevent them from leaving home, but also by the lack of mutual attachment and interest in each other among many married couples in the country.

The mutual indifference and spiritual alienation of most Vietnamese couples is also explained by the remnants of medieval traditions that remain in the minds of many Vietnamese. So, in Vietnam, it has long been considered that husbands should not talk to their wives about their official affairs, share with them their successes and failures, worries and joys associated with working outside the home.

The spiritual alienation of many married couples in Vietnam not only pushes husbands and wives to commit adultery and extramarital affairs, but also determines a large number of conflict situations in families.

As we have already mentioned, on the web-site A similar study on family issues was conducted. To the question: "Do you have a successful marriage or not? "(1,600 people participated in the survey): 11% of respondents answered-yes; 19% - rarely swear; 40% - sometimes swear; 14% - often swear; 11.5% - are ready to divorce at any time; 4.5% - feel dislike for each other.

We analyzed the data of studies published on the Internet and compared them with the results obtained using psychological tests. Our data obtained on the specified sample of subjects using the V. V. Stolitsa "Marriage Satisfaction" test are consistent with these answers. High satisfaction with marriage - 28%, average - 42% and low-30%.

Every year, the number of divorces in Vietnam increases. Compared to Russia and some Western countries, this figure - 20% - is not so high. But this does not mean that the Vietnamese have few family problems. In Vietnam, the phenomenon of permanent emotional divorce is now widespread-not as one of the well-known stages of divorce, but as a rather long-lasting state, a special type of interaction between people who formally continue to be married. In Russia and the West, this phenomenon also occurs, but much less often. Emotional divorce in Vietnamese families occurs when problems arise in the family that cause such emotional tension that the spouses do not want or can no longer live together. They decide to divorce, but without the consent of the court. Apparently, they want to hide the negative consequences caused, in particular, not only by objective, but also by specific cultural conditions:

- they are afraid of a negative change in their status at work, which could affect their career;

- they are afraid to worsen their financial situation;

- fathers are afraid of losing their children, because the court always decides that children should stay after a divorce from their mother;

- wives are afraid of loneliness and negative attitude towards themselves after divorce;

- unwillingness to let go of each other out of selfishness: "If I feel bad, then let you too...".

In fact, emotional divorce (in Vietnamese) is a very serious problem. If people live in such a dysfunctional family atmosphere for a long time, they have to put up with each other, live in a state of chronic tension, they have a state of irritation, fatigue; this type of relationship has a negative impact on the upbringing of children, on their future, on the possibility of finding a way out of this situation.

In general, the results obtained in the study allow us to draw the following conclusions. The influence of Western civilization and modern Eastern culture on the Vietnamese family is manifested in a decrease in the power of the husband-father, an increase in the educational level of women, and the possibility for a woman to initiate a divorce. In economic terms, changes in the family are associated with women's entry into work and thus gaining material independence from men in the broad sense (father, brother, husband). Changes in the status of women led to structural and psychological changes in the Vietnamese family.

As for the types of the modern Vietnamese family, according to our data, the traditional clan family with its surroundings is still preserved. The problems are psychological pressure from relatives, the influence of public opinion, previous ideas about the status roles of men and women, etc.

Other family relationships that have been significantly democratized in comparison with traditional ones have already appeared and are developing. In the marital and parent-child subsystems, the pressure of relatives is less overwhelming, and the value of the relationship itself comes to the fore.

According to the original opinion of Malaysian anthropologist Susan Mulayo, expressed in 1996, men and women evolved separately. Women are descended from very kind and calm Rhesus monkeys, and men are descended from noisy and vicious baboons. "Now that we know why we are different," says the anthropologist, " maybe we can finally get along with each other."


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CHAN THI MI LUONG, ON GENDER EQUALITY IN THE MODERN VIETNAMESE FAMILY // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 06.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 24.07.2024).

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