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Keywords: Sociology, Family, Rural, Vietnam, Housework, Domestic Division
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2011
Abstract: Since the 1986s renovation, Vietnamese socio-economical conditions have been improving rapidly. Coupled with the applications of new laws on gender equality in Vietnam, family life is changing quickly, particularly the relationship between husband and wife within the family. This research examines gender equality in Vietnamese rural families with respect to domestic division of labor between husband and wife. It attempts to test hypotheses from three theoretical perspectives ? gender ideology, time availability and relative resources. This thesis also investigates which model of domestic division of labor exists within the rural families of Vietnam and the factors that affect spouses? housework allocation. Analyses in this thesis are based on secondary data collected from 301 individuals in a survey conducted in 2008 in a rural area in the north of Vietnam and information collected from 36 in-depth interviews and time diaries during the summer of 2010. The evidence indicates that gender-based domestic division of labor remains within Vietnamese rural families in which women are primarily responsible for housework and child care, whereas men play their roles as breadwinner and are mainly responsible for income generating activities. However, there is a trend that the husbands tend to become more involved in housework during their marriage. This study indicates that the levels of spouses? participation in doing housework are associated with spouses? time spent on paid-job, other family members? participation, couple?s earnings, number of children, and household size. From these findings, this research shows that a trend toward gender equality in terms of housework allocation in rural families of Vietnam appears to have begun in that housework is no longer considered merely women?s responsibility. However, rural Vietnamese women clearly perform a ?second shift? after long hours of farm work. Men?s participation in these ?unpaid-jobs? remains very low. According to Hochschild, these men can be called "egalitarian on top" and "traditional underneath" husbands. Generally, the extent of spouses? participation in housework depends on their time spent on their paid-job. The other family member?s participation also plays important roles in spouses? housework allocation. The husbands? relative earnings also influence couples? participation in doing housework. However it is not correlated with levels of their participation in these domestic tasks. In addition, husbands? age is relevant to their participation in housework in that the older the husbands become, the more will they be involved in housework. Findings from this thesis help to understand more about the three perspectives which explain housework allocation between husband and wife. They show that couples? gender ideology can influence the extent to which couples contribute to housework. In addition, the data also support the time availability theory clearly in that women?s time spent on paid-job is negatively related to their housework time. However, these findings point out that relative resources perspective is not an adequate approach to explain the situation of domestic division of labor within rural families of Vietnam since the results reveal that there is no statistically significant correlation between wives? relative earnings as well as education and levels of husbands? participation in domestic tasks.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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