Women in Vietnam

Women in Vietnam

Towards the end to the Twentieth century,

Vietnam a rapidly changing country goes through a political and social
transition, from a socialist to an open market "capitalist type" society.

Since the late 1980\'s Vietnam has adjusted it\'s economy to compete with
the world. In doing so, the country undergoes many political and
social reforms. Ideals of the west have been implemented into Vietnams"market" economy. There is definitely a change that is occurring
however the social status of women in Vietnam has not changed much.

Moreover Vietnam\'s transformation into the global economy has created large
social gaps, which in turn creates many social inequalities, in particular,
women in the sex industry.

The sex industry has always been a profitable
industry. One can find this to be the case in many parts of the world.

But what is it that makes the Vietnamese "Pleasure Industry" different?

By using the works of Nguyen-Vo (Governing the Social: Prostitution and

Liberal governance in Vietnam during Marketization) and Tran (Through the
eye of the Needle: Vietnamese Textile and Garment Industries, Rejoining
the Global Economy), I will discuss the problematic conditions of women
in lower economic class of Vietnam.

Prostitution is considered a "social evil"
in Vietnam, but being deemed "evil" does not put an end to this endemic
problem that has been around for thousands of years. Prostitution
is an issue that few individuals have taken to fully understand and in
this case, the issue is misunderstood and many voices go unheard.

Classified as "whores", the women of the lower class in Vietnam don\'t have
much to turn to. Vietnam\'s open economy has only created a bigger
market for "pleasure". Gradually the identity of the young ladies
in Vietnam become more and more of a commodity, well at least in the eyes
of the foreigner. "Foreign guest\' sought out a \'taste of nice and
cool specialty dishes of Vietnam\'. High quality goods, whores deluxe"
and so on (Nguyen-vo, 92-93). Being identified as "high quality goods",
they do what is expected from them and they survive. Due to the lack
of education, these girls find themselves lost in the advancing city.

Their hopes for success are crushed and with it lies the memories of disparity,
the starvation of childhood, the beating of the drunken father, and many
other troubles of poverty.

A society living under the Communist idea
of all being equal; come to realize that reality is far more complex.

In ever society lies different social classes. Each class is looked
at differently and unfortunately, treated differently too. What can
be done to change things for the better? As the government of Vietnam
attempts to end the everlasting problem of prostitution, they implement
ideas that are genuinely bogus. Creating prison like education camps
for many of these young girls caught in the world of prostitution was an
idea that would be easy to cash in on. This definitely proves to
be the case for those who were unlucky enough to experience this sad reality.

Forced into becoming what is so called the "traditional women". One
might ask what is it that is deemed traditional? According to the"changing" society of Vietnam, women must follow the old rules of Confucianism,
an idea that has obviously sickened the East. The so-called "social
evils" are taught "tradition, morality and ethics" (Nguyen-vo, 397).

This ethical education served the wardens of these camps as sources of
income and free labor. As their life become less livable, the girls
in these camps resort hope a hope of a better life, in order to get by.

The jobs that were suited for these girls are unbearable, at least to many
of us who are from Western Society. "All of the jobs taught to women
in the camps made slow and monotonous work that required much patience.

Most of them required a high degree of dexterity" (Nguyen-vo, 391).

This is what is expected from them, instead of extracting the creativity
and art in these girls, the camps force them to do what is considered best
for them. Once they are done serving "time" the are released back
into the concrete jungle. Searching for the life that they longed
for, however with the skills they have learned, the only life they can
live is one of poverty. The poverty and hopelessness weakens their
mind and turns them back into a state of prostitution. A quote found
in Nguyen-vo\'s work, "I get so sad/depressed/bored in the countryside.

Every time I went back there, I could only stay for a few days and I just
had to leave" (119).

How can the government of Vietnam expect
these girls to change when they