By staff writers – Translated by Uyen Phuong
Hanoi (VNA) – A new research brief shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only exacerbated existing inequalities but also created new gender gaps , the International Labour Organisation ( ILO ) in Vietnam has said, calling for a change in the mindset of not only every man but also every woman to influence their economic behaviour and achieve gender equality in the labour market.
ILO Vietnam recently released a new research brief titled “Gender and the labour market in Vietnam: An analysis based on the Labour Force Survey”.
It pointed out that with remarkably high labour market participation rate, women in Vietnam face multiple and persistent labour market inequalities, and carry a disproportionate double burden of work and family responsibilities.
More than 70 percent of Vietnam’s working-age women are in the labour force, compared to the global level of 47.2 percent and the average of 43.9 percent in Asia and the Pacific.
While the gender gap in labour force participation is narrower in Vietnam than in the world, it has still stood at 9.5 percentage points (men’s rate higher than women’s) over the last decade.
Uneven distribution of family responsibilities in the Vietnamese society could be the reason behind, the brief said, noting that nearly half of the women who were not economically active in the 2018 Labour Force Survey had made this choice because of “personal or family-related reasons”, compared to only 18.9 percent of inactive men.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, both women and men had a relatively easy access to jobs, but the quality of such jobs was on average lower among women than among men,” according to Valentina Barcucci, ILO Vietnam Labour Economist and lead author of the research.
Female workers were overrepresented in vulnerable employment, particularly in contributing family work. They earned less than men (by 13.7 percent on monthly wages in 2019), despite comparable working hours and the progressive elimination of gender gaps in educational attainment.
Women were also underrepresented in decision-making jobs. They accounted for nearly half of the labour force, but less than one-fourth of overall management roles.
“Again the gap women face in job quality and career development stems from the double burden they carry,” said Barcucci. “They spend twice as many hours on household work than men.”
The research also revealed that women spent an average of 20.2 hours per week cleaning the house, washing clothes, cooking and shopping for the family, family care and childcare, whereas men spent only 10.7 hours. Close to one-fifth of men did not spend any time on these activities at all.
New gender gaps
The research showed that as a result of the pandemic, total working hours dropped significantly in the second quarter of 2020, and recovered through the second half of the year. Women faced the most severe losses.
The total weekly hours worked by women in the second quarter of 2020 were only 88.8 percent of the total for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 91.2 percent for men.
However, women’s working hours recovered faster. In the last three months of 2020, women worked 0.8 percent more hours than in the same period of 2019, whereas men worked 0.6 percent more.
“Those employed women who worked longer hours than usual in the second half of 2020 possibly wanted to make up for the income losses in the second quarter,” Barcucci said, adding that such additional hours made the double burden heavier to carry, as the time spent by women on household chores remained disproportionately high.
The impact of COVID-19 on Vietnam’s labour market has not only widened existing inequalities, but also created new ones. Before the pandemic, there was no difference between male and female unemployment rate, but a gap appeared from the third quarter of 2020.
“Gender inequality in the labour market is traced back to the traditional roles that women are expected to play, supported by the social norms,” said ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee.
“While at the policy level, the 2019 Labour Code has opened opportunities to close such gender gaps, for example in retirement age or removing the ban on female employment in certain occupations, a much more difficult task still awaits Vietnam. That is changing the mindsets of the Vietnamese men and women themselves which will in turn influence their behaviours in the labour market ,” he went on./.
According to the management board of Moc Chau National Tourism Zone, Moc Chau Night Market and Moc Chau Pedestrian Street will cover an area of 2.3 hectares, located in Moc Chau Farm Town, Son La province. The project takes the current Pha Luong Light Park as its core area, radiating from there in all directions.
The project is being implemented by the People’s Committee of Moc Chau district and Pha Luong Tourism Joint Stock Company.
Moc Chau pedestrian street includes a showroom introducing the Thai cultural identity, which is also a centre organisingcultural performances; a dining complex, a range of kiosks selling ethnic handicrafts; snack and fast food areas and a space for Moc Chau’s farm produce.
Each item will have its own functions, bearing the imprint of the Northwestern region. The products will showcase the cultural diversity of all ethnic groups in Moc Chau. This is not only aplace for evening entertainment but also a cultural performance space of the Moc Chau National Tourism Zone, with the cuisine, culture, arts, and traditional crafts of 12 ethnic groups.
The project is expected to be completed by September 2, 2021.
The chronic congestion on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) has caused losses for retail investors, making them insecure.
Instead of congestion, and errors, only in the afternoon or near the close like previously, errors are now occurring even in the morning.
For example, on March 5, just after the market opened, the security live board froze and failed to show realtime prices.
Nguyen Kha, a veteran investor in HCM City, said he punched in an order to sell HBC shares on March 3 when it jumped to above VND18,500 (US$804 million), but only half his order was matched, and in the next few days had to sell at below VND18,000 since he needed money, losing VND1,000 per share.
Another investor on HoSE said he has been in a constant state of insecurity recently and cannot do any other work after placing orders since one needs to watch the screen to see if the order is matched.
This insecurity has caused many investors to switch to trading on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) and UPCoM, causing shares there to skyrocket in terms of both price and trading.
On March 4 UPCoM saw trading worth VND1.7 trillion, twice the normal average.
To tackle the overload at HoSE, the State Securities Commission (SSC) said it is speeding up installation of a new trading system provided by the Korean Exchange (KRX).
Last week it instructed the temporary transfer of shares from HoSE to HNX to much acclaim from both investors and analysts, but a difficult task since listed companies need to get approval from their shareholders.
Besides, it could take securities companies one to two months to meet the technical changes involved in identifying the shares transferred to the HNX.
Some need even six to nine months.
Dr Nguyen Van Thuan of the University of Finance and Marketing told Thanh Nien (Youth) newspaper however that since this solution has the least impact on investors and companies, the SSC could make it not mandatory for companies to get approval.
The settlement between the two exchanges and securities companies is an internal issue, and so the switch could be accelerated, he pointed out.
If the problem lasts much longer, not only investors but also the stock market and the economy itself would suffer badly, he added. — VNS
Kien Giang (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang gained more than 103 million USD from exports in the first two month of the year, surging 12 percent from the same time in 2020.
This is a robust sign in the locality’s trade activities amidst complicated developments of COVID-19.
According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, growth was seen in the shipment of seafood (over 37 million USD, up 25.6 percent), and leather shoes (over 22.6 million USD, up nearly 3 percent). Meanwhile, export of rice fell 35.37 percent year-on-year to 17 million USD.
With a view to boosting exports, the province has sharpened focus on trade promotion activities, as well as worked to consolidate traditional markets and expanding markets for local key products, particularly rice and seafood.
In the meantime, the department keeps local exporters updated with the import-export situation and measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 through goods which go through border gates or unofficial border crossings.
It has provided local firms with domestic and foreign market information so that they can pen suitable production plan.
The provincial authorities have ordered the Department of Industry and Trade to join hands with competent departments and agencies to keep a close watch on the business and exports of local firms so as to remove bottlenecks for them in a timely manner.
Along with seeking more markets for local products, the department has worked to raise the firms’ awareness of the signed free trade agreement, helping them adjust their production to meet import demands of international buyers./.
HCM City (VNS/VNA) – The textile and apparel industry , which managed to survive three waves of COVID-19 thanks to its decision to produce face masks and personal protective equipment, will focus on sportswear and yarn, according to the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group .
Le Tien Truong, its general director, said demand for face masks and personal protective equipment will shrink rapidly.
Armed with their experience of coping with the pandemic, many textile and footwear enterprises are quietly confident of altering plans when required and finding new markets to cope with new situation after COVID-19 is under control.
Sportswear has arguably been the most successful segment during the pandemic as awareness of physical exercise rose.
According to Euromonitor International, in 2020 the demand for sportswear world-wide decreased only about 8 percent, the lowest in an industry which saw an overall decline of 16 percent.
The compounded annual growth rate for the sportswear market in the last five years was 6.5 percent, 1.5 times the industry average, and it is expected to be worth 479 billion USD globally by 2025.
The Thanh Cong Textile Garment Investment Trading JSC is considered one of the most successful businesses in 2020 thanks to seizing opportunities to export COVID-19 related apparel products such as fabric masks and PPE.
But Tran Nhu Tung, its deputy general director, said the demand for cloth masks and protective gear is returning to pre-COVID levels with the advent of vaccines. This year his company has stopped taking orders for medical protective gear and antibacterial masks.
It is focusing on traditional products such as T-shirts and sportswear, demand for which would continue to increase, and there are already enough orders for sportswear for the first 6 months of the year, he said.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, many businesses now have orders for until the end of April, mainly for sportswear.
Dang Trieu Hoa, general director of the The Ky Yarn Joint Stock Company, said his company plans to focus on yarns with high quality and competitive prices.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) that took effect on August 1 last year has reduced tariffs on Vietnam’s garment exports by more than 70 percentage points.
The footwear and textile sectors also benefit significantly from tariff cuts, according to Bao Viet Securities Joint Stock Company.
With most other countries that export textile and garment to the EU not having a trade deal with the bloc, the EVFTA has opened up a great opportunity for Vietnam’s footwear, textile and garment exports if companies meet origin requirements, it added./.