Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version


Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam


Werner, Jayne S. 2006. “Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (3): 303–15.

Author: Jayne S. Werner


This article explores how memory and desire narrate the remembrance of war in doi moi Vietnam through gendered representations. Based on a reading of texts, including fiction and a film shown on television, I argue that memory in wartime texts evokes a landscape of gendered desire and longing. Using Judith Butler's theory of gender melancholy, the article looks at how these texts serve a political project cultivated by the state to displace its own ideal authority.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Nationalism Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2006

Gender in Post-Doi Moi Vietnam: Women, Desire, and Change


Drummond, Lisa. 2006. “Gender in Post-Doi Moi Vietnam: Women, Desire, and Change.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (3): 247–50.

Author: Lisa Drummond


On the eve of doi moi's twentieth anniversary, this group of papers examines the impact of ‘economic renovation’ on the lives of Vietnam's women. Economically, the transformation is unarguable. Socially, the impacts have been as deep, but more uneven and possibly less predictable. These four papers examine different aspects of contemporary Vietnamese women's experience through the lens of desire: mothers confronting the age-old desire for sons under the government's small-family policy, young women's desire to explore sexuality in the strict moral environment of the countryside, piece-workers' desire for better conditions and better lives but unable to mobilize their proletarian class position in a socialist regime, and the desire of authors to evoke women's war-time roles to create a shared national remembrance of suffering, sacrifice, and loss. In their diverse ways, these papers offer unusual insights and rare glimpses into the lives of women in post-doi moi Vietnam.

Topics: Civil Society, Class, Economies, Gender, Women, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Sexuality Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2006

Picking up the Threads: Model Approach Helps Cambodia Design a New Fashion Image


Medvedev, Katalin, and Britanny Reef. 2012. “Picking up the Threads: Model Approach Helps Cambodia Design a New Fashion Image.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 41 (1/2): 131–49.

Authors: Katalin Medvedev, Britanny Reef


Last paragraph of Introduction: Most of the country's intelligentsia and skilled labor force perished. Because Cambodia's entire population was uprooted and displaced around the country, the national agriculture, industry, and service sectors, including textiles and fashion production, were either destroyed or abandoned. Vietnamese troops put an end to the destruction by ousting Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in 1979. In 1991 the Paris Peace Agreement finally brought a cease-fire in the continuing civil war. The agreement and the subsequent establishment of the United Nations Transitional Authority in 1992, followed by national elections in 1993, opened Cambodia to international investment and aid, which claimed to rebuild the nation and spur economic growth. As part of this, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like Blue Mekong, which operates within the Stung Treng Women's Development Center have become important catalysts in creating socially and economically sustainable employment opportunities for Cambodian women in fashion production.

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, NGOs, Post-Conflict Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, United States of America, Vietnam

Year: 2012

Power, Patriarchy, and Gender Conflict in the Vietnamese Immigrant Community


Kibria, Nazli. 1990. “Power, Patriarchy, and Gender Conflict in the Vietnamese Immigrant Community.” Gender and Society 4 (1): 9-24.

Author: Nazli Kibria


Based on an ethnographic study of women's social groups and networks in a community of Vietnamese immigrants recently settled in the US, this article explores the effects of migration on gender roles and power. The women's groups and networks play an important role in the exchange of social and economic resources among households and in the mediation of disputes between men and women in the family. These community forms are an important source of informal power for women, enabling them to cope effectively with male authority in the family. Yet, despite their increased power and economic resources, these women supported a patriarchal social structure because it preserved their parental authority and promised greater economic security in the future.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: United States of America, Vietnam

Year: 1990

Globalisation, Gender and Work in the Context of Economic Transition: The Case of Vietnam


Kabeer, Naila, and Tran Thi Van Anh. 2006. “Globalisation, Gender and Work in the Context of Economic Transition: The Case of Vietnam.” Working Paper 06-3, The International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics, Salt Lake City, UT.

Authors: Naila Kabeer, Tran Thi Van Anh


This paper is concerned with the gender and poverty implications of globalisation in the context of the transition to the market economy in Vietnam. As elsewhere, the export oriented garment industry in Vietnam is a major source of employment for women. Women are also actively engaged in the domestic market, both in the formal state and private sector as well as in the informal economy. The paper uses survey data to compare the characteristics, conditions and preferences of women workers working for global and local markets in order to ascertain who they are, how they might differ and what their jobs mean to them. It finds that garment workers tended to form a distinct category of workers – young, single, with at least secondary education who have recently migrated from the country side. Women working for the local economy were far more heterogeneous and included older residents of the city with high levels of education working for the state as well as a more mixed group of women working in private wage and self employment. The findings suggest that entry into garment work represents an aspect of the diversification strategies of rural households for some women while for others, it constitutes the attempt to become more self-reliant. A higher percentage of garment workers expressed a preference for alternative forms of work than non-garment workers, a reflection of their long hours of work and exploitative working conditions. While public sector employees outside the garment sector expressed the highest levels of satisfaction with their jobs, this was not an option open to all. Instead, young women migrating from the countryside saw garment employment as an opportunity to save and take up self-employment. The paper concludes that until rural unemployment is tackled and alternative jobs made available, a female labour supply will continue to be available for the garment industry, regardless of the conditions which prevail in them. 

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Globalization, Livelihoods, Political Economies Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2006

Gender and Agency in Migration Decision-Making: Evidence from Vietnam


Hoang L.A. 2011. “Gender and Agency in Migration Decision-Making: Evidence from Vietnam.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37 (9): 1441-57.

Author: L. A. Hoang


This paper examines the influences of gender as an identity on an individual's ability to exercise agency in decision-making about internal migration in Vietnam. Women and men exert agency with reference to prevailing social norms in order to negotiate for or against their own migration and that of others. It has been well recognised that, beyond sex, their specific gender identity as mothers or fathers, daughters or sons, husbands or wives, etc. impacts on who can migrate for what kind of work. However, this study explores the more neglected ways in which gender structures migration. While my findings show that decision-making about migration was overwhelmingly consensual in nature, this did not necessarily mean that migration was equally in everyone's best interests. Women's agency around their own migration was in part constrained because they were forced to negotiate for their interests whilst trying to preserve family harmony. While social norms supported men's power to make unilateral decisions and while they resorted to powerful threats of divorce to get their own way, this did not prevent wives from resisting unwelcome decisions by ‘passive' means. The paper deepens feminist insights into the ways in which migration is gendered.

Keywords: identity, internal migration, agency, feminist, gender identity, social norms, Vietnam, migration decision-making

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Feminisms, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2011

Gender, Land and Sexuality: Exploring Connections


Jacobs, Susie. 2014. “Gender, Land and Sexuality: Exploring Connections.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 27 (2): 173–90. 

Author: Susie Jacobs


This article explores links between the issues of sexuality and gendered control over agricultural land. It discusses gendered land rights in several settings, concentrating particularly on agrarian and land reforms. I argue that land redistribution in the “household” model, discussed for Chile and Nicaragua, tends to entrench male household and agricultural control. In contrast, more collective forms, discussed for Vietnam, have displayed economic weaknesses but had potential to undercut such control by socialising women’s labour. Fears about and visions of female sexuality have much to do with backlashes against inclusion of women, either through allowing them membership of cooperatives and collectives or through granting rights such as joint titling to land. In sub-Saharan Africa, there currently exists much discussion of improving women’s control over agriculture and its products. These continue to meet opposition, despite female predominance in agriculture in the region. Thus, even though women work on the land in many societies, this does not give them any automatic “closeness” to nature or say within households. Control over women’s, especially wives’, labour within peasant households, is linked to the manner that their persons and their labour are bound up in this socio-economic form. The article also examines two feminist attempts to configure alternative agricultural forms: the case of a lesbian agricultural collective in the west of the USA and an Indian model of new female-centred households for single women. Heterosexuality as an institution and gender subordination more broadly, as the examples here indicate, have to do not only with sexual practices or identity but extend also to issues of labour and access to crucial resources.

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Households, LGBTQ, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Americas, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Chile, India, Nicaragua, United States of America, Vietnam

Year: 2014

Vietnamese Women at War: Fighting for Ho Chi Minh and the Revolution


Taylor, Sandra C. 1999. Vietnamese Women at War: Fighting for Ho Chi Minh and the Revolution. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Author: Sandra C. Taylor


For as long as the Vietnamese people fought against foreign enemies, women were a vital part of that struggle. The victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu is said to have involved hundreds of thousands of women, and many of the names in Viet Cong unit rosters were female. These women were living out the ancient saying of their country, "When war comes, even women have to fight."

Women from Hanoi and the countryside fought alongside their male counterparts in both the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese military in their wars against the South Vietnamese government and its French and American allies from 1945 to 1975. Sandra Taylor now draws on interviews with many of these women and on an array of newly opened archives to illuminate the motivations, experiences, and contributions of these women, presenting not cold facts but real people.

These women were the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of men recruited into military service; and because the war lasted so long, women from more than one generation of the same family often participated in the struggle. Some learned to fire weapons and lay traps, or to serve as village patrol guards and intelligence agents; others were propagandists and recruiters or helped keep the supply lines flowing.

Taylor relates how this war for liberation from foreign oppressors also liberated Vietnamese women from centuries of Confucian influence that had made them second-class citizens. She reveals that communism's promise of freedom from those strictures influenced their involvement in the war, and also shares the irony that their sex gave them an advantage in battle or subterfuge over Western opponents blinded by gender stereotypes.

As their country continues to modernize, Vietnamese Women at War preserves these women's stories while they remain alive and before the war fades from memory. By showing that they were not victims of war but active participants, it offers a wholly unique perspective on that conflict. It is a rare study which reveals much about gender roles and cultural differences and reminds us of the ever-present human dimension of war. (Amazon)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 1999

Male-Perpetrated Violence Among Vietnam Veteran Couples: Relationships With Veteran’s Early Life Characteristics, Trauma History, and PTSD Symptomatology


Orcutt, Holly K., Lynda A. King, and Daniel W. King. 2003. “Male-Perpetrated Violence Among Vietnam Veteran Couples: Relationships With Veteran’s Early Life Characteristics, Trauma History, and PTSD Symptomatology.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 16 (4): 381–90. doi:10.1023/A:1024470103325.

Authors: Holly K. Orcutt , Lynda A. King, Daniel W. King


Using structural equation modeling, we examined the impact of early-life stressors, war-zone stressors, and PTSD symptom severity on partner's reports of recent male-perpetrated intimate partner violence (IPV) among 376 Vietnam veteran couples. Results indicated that several variables demonstrated direct relationships with IPV, including relationship quality with mother, war-zone stressor variables, and PTSD symptom severity. Importantly, retrospective reports of a stressful early family life, childhood antisocial behavior, and war-zone stressors were indirectly associated with IPV via PTSD. One of our 2 war-zone stressor variables, perceived threat, had both direct and indirect (through PTSD) relationships with IPV. Experiencing PTSD symptoms as a result of previous trauma appears to increase an individual's risk for perpetrating IPV. Implications for research and treatment are discussed.

Topics: Combatants, Domestic Violence, Gender, Health, PTSD, Trauma Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2003

Rising Gender Inequality in Vietnam Since Reunification


Goodkind, Daniel. 1995. “Rising Gender Inequality in Vietnam Since Reunification.” Pacific Affairs 68 (3): 342–59. doi:10.2307/2761129.

Author: Daniel Goodkind


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.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Governance, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 1995


© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at

Subscribe to RSS - Vietnam