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Rising Gender Inequality in Vietnam Since Reunification

Daniel Goodkind
Pacific Affairs
Vol. 68, No. 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 342-359
DOI: 10.2307/2761129
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2761129
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rising Gender Inequality in Vietnam Since Reunification
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Abstract

This paper documents increases in gender inequality in Vietnam since reunification of the country in 1975. That contention is based upon an analysis of census and other survey data, a review of secondary source materials, and fieldwork. The rise in inequality has entailed the following: declines in relative survival probabilities for female children, worsened marriage prospects, greater occupational segregation, and increased female representation among the elderly and impoverished. At least four factors have contributed to these changes. The first is that wartime mobilization before 1975 had artificially inflated women's social position to an unsustainably high level. The second concerns the demographic outcome of the war of reunification which resulted in a relative surplus of women. The third is the free market reforms of the 1980s which signaled a diminished governmental commitment to social equity and contributed to a re-emergence of patriarchal Confucian patterns. The fourth is a set of other policy measures and historical circumstances which have enhanced preferences for bearing sons. The paper also assesses contrary and ambiguous evidence, such as the absence of a large gender gap in education, and suggests the possibility of future improvements in gender equality.

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