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Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Economic Reforms Temple Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture and Society Presentation by Le Anh Tu Packard January.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Economic Reforms Temple Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture and Society Presentation by Le Anh Tu Packard January."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Economic Reforms Temple Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture and Society Presentation by Le Anh Tu Packard January 25, 2005

2 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Why is Vietnam an interesting case study? “Globalization success story” Historically social & political status of women have been high (compared to other developing countries) Relationship between gender equality & economic performance: what are causal links between macroeconomic & structural reform, gender status, economic development & women’s welfare? Reform policies, although gender-neutral in intent, can give rise to gendered outcomes due to underlying factors: –social attitudes influenced by patriarchal values –occupational segregation & related gender wage differentials –gender differences in education levels

3 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Concern about erosion of women’s status... “Since renunification and peace – and especially since the initiation of economic reform – there have been growing signs that the position of women is declining, particularly in rural, secluded and remote areas. In recent years, during which a differentiation between the poor and the rich has been accentuated, women are gradually withdrawing from the activities of society and state management. At the same time, Confucian views of gender inequality are returning.” –Tran Thi Que (gender-specialist)

4 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Pro-Women Macroeconomic Policies Rapid & stable growth: good for women through several channels: more jobs, higher income & consumption, more resources for state to spend on pro-women & pro-poor social welfare programs Large fluctuations in economic activity (such as those induced by financial crises) impose high costs on women. Implication: state should adopt prudent macroeconomic policies to reduce vulnerability to fiscal & financial shocks.

5 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Doi Moi’s comprehensive reforms Rural reforms: decollectivization of agriculture, return to self-managed family farms, long term leases granted Liberal foreign investment law Anti-inflation measures: positive real rates of interest, fiscal discipline, tighter budgets, SOE reform & hard budget constraint Exchange rate unification & massive devaluation Foreign trade reforms to improve incentive to export & give easier access to imported inputs, reduction of tariff barriers & QRs

6 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 VN’s approach to reform is pragmatic Gradual approach to structural reform –tension between market orientation & VCP’s desire to control key areas of economy –on issues where consensus among political leadership is weak, reform measures must show positive results to win greater support Good appreciation of potential gains from external liberalization Awareness that with globalization comes increased vulnerability to external shocks

7 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Doi Moi Reforms: Broad Gains in Social Welfare VN successfully emerged from crisis of near famine & hyperinflation to attain macroeconomic stability, high GDP growth & halving of poverty rate during first decade of reforms Significant increase in HDI from in 1985 to by 2000 (VN in medium human development category despite low per capita income) Major epidemiological change: share of communicable diseases in mortality & morbidity dropped from 59 percent in 1986 to 27 percent in 1997.

8 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Findings on Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Reform Experience (1) Despite persistence of gender inequality, women generally benefited from Doi Moi reforms & shift to market economy Status of women and different degrees of gender inequality associated with ethnicity, geography & residence (urban or rural)  large variations in the reforms’ gender effects Attributes associated with their more equal socioeconomic & legal status enabled women to take advantage of new income generating opportunities created by reforms Women in dominant ethnic group & living in urban areas benefited more than rural & ethnic minority women due to their relatively more equal status & better access to economic resources

9 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Findings on Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Reform Experience (2) Fiscal austerity & downsizing had disproportionate negative impact on women during early reform years –laid off workers from state sector (mostly women) were forced out of secure formal sector into insecure informal sector Comprehensive Doi Moi reforms cleared bottlenecks on supply side  surge in economic growth more than offset contractionary effects of stabilization policies Early reforms in VN especially potent in its effects because VN possessed many social features of middle-income country & therefore had capacity to respond quickly to change in incentive structure.

10 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Findings on Gender Dimensions of Vietnam’s Macroeconomic Reform Experience (3) Gender inequalities were mitigated by state policies that allowed women to take advantage of newly created diverse range of income generating opportunities –1986 Law on Family and Marriage (wife equal to husband, joint responsibility for household chores & child care, sons & daughters should receive equal treatment) –Revised 2000 Law on Family and Marriage (land-use right certificates should include names of both husband and wife) –National Strategy for the Advancement of Women Women’s welfare gains reflected in GDI > HDI Narrowing of gender wage gap in formal sector observed during period (update is needed to verify trend)

11 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Conclusions (1) Vietnam has potential to maintain high per capita growth rate of 1990s. Conditional on having right policies & institutions (allowing women to participate fully in all sectors of the economy) Scope for growth: most people still working in low productivity primary sector, & have yet to realize the large gains from shifting labor to higher productivity secondary & tertiary sectors

12 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Conclusions & Future Research (2) Despite persistence of gender inequality, welfare of women in VN generally improved Composition of output growth & distribution of wealth & income, & impact on various components of demand, can affect men & women differently –Does increase in income of poor households increase demand for goods & services from sectors dominated by women workers? LSMS can provide answers. –Does more unequal distribution of income cause shift in demand composition towards imported goods and/or goods produced in male- dominated capital-intensive import substitution sectors such as steel & cement? Need CGE model informed by empirical research.

13 Gender Dimensions of Vietnam's Economic Reforms - Le Anh Tu Packard copyright 2005 Main Conclusions & Future Research (3) VN’s prudent macroeconomic policies produced rapid & stable growth: beneficial to women Increased integration with global economy (US-VN BTA, ASEAN Free Trade Area, WTO membership) offers opportunities & risks: –Share of women workers in export sector is high. –Policies needed to reduce horizontal segregation (increase female participation in more skill-intensive high wage sectors) –Policies needed to reduce vertical segregation (enable women to move up hierarchical ladder) –Greater vulnerability to external shocks: economic crises seen to impose disproportionately high costs on women.


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