Sixty-two female undergraduate students from two universities participated in eight focus group discussions to talk about their perspectives regarding national and local gender equity issues. Perceived dimensions of gender relations were comparable to theoretical structures of the Theory of Gender and Power, and to findings from several reports describing the actual inferiority of women. Allocation of housework and social paid work represented salient dimensions of labor.
The most salient dimension of power related to women
Five dimensions of healthy sexuality positions of authority.
It may be important to address gender relations as a distal determinant in health interventions in order to promote gender-based equity in sexual and reproductive health. The goal of gender equality has been a "Five dimensions of healthy sexuality" agenda item in Vietnam since [ 1 ], and strides have been made over the past two decades [ 1 - 4 ].
Sociocultural systems and doctrine, such as patriarchal kinship, have barely changed. Women are still primarily responsible for household chores and caring for family members.
Men are often regarded as the family bread-winner. Women are expected to be obedient, submissive and self-sacrificing in order to maintain family harmony [ 18 ].
Contemporary versus traditional role expectations and norms for women in the changing Vietnam society have resulted in unresolved contradictions [ 8 ]. For example, in order to advance economically through social paid work and to fulfill traditional family responsibilities, women must work longer hours than men and have comparably little time for rest or leisure [ 89 ]. Similar to the national picture of gender relations, women in the Mekong Delta region have historically been viewed as inferior to men.
Also, the difference between male and female literacy in the Mekong Delta is the third highest among Vietnamese regions that document literacy levels by gender [ 2 ]. Nevertheless, there is evidence that some current dimensions of gender relations in the Mekong Delta are distinct from other regions.
For example, the perception that women are capable of holding positions in production or business is less common in the Mekong Delta 4. In contrast, the Mekong Delta has the highest rates of unregistered marriage These figures suggest that women in the Mekong Delta might have gained more autonomy in marriages [ 7 ]. Given the increased trend of mainstreaming gender issues into health programs, there is a growing body of literature to understand gender-relation dimensions, which are sensitive and specific for different populations and which are applicable to health [ 10 - 15 ].
Many international organizations working in Vietnam, as well as Vietnamese committees, have developed large-scale, gender-sensitive indicators [ 119 - 22 ] in order to monitor and assess programs or policies.
Studies on gender matters in general in the south and southwest of Vietnam are scarce [ 723 ]. Additionally, studies by Vietnamese authors are often atheoretical [ 23 ], which may explain the paucity of domains measured. Finally, most of these studies employed households as the research unit within married populations. Gender relations in other institutions, such as schools, workplaces, media, or markets, remain underexplored. Findings from this study will suggest potential psychological quantitative
Five dimensions of healthy sexuality or indicators of gender relations in future health equity research and projects; hence, they will contribute to strengthening theoretical application and measurement in Vietnam.
Although many health researchers are beginning to recognize the importance of gender relations, to date relatively few empirical health research studies have explicitly and purposefully incorporated a gender relations framework [ 14 ].
Thus, study findings may contribute to this growing body of literature and to the diverse perspectives pertaining to gender relations and health. In Marchwe conducted four focus group discussions with 32 students in Can Tho University and four groups with 30 students in An Giang University - the two largest universities in the Mekong Delta. Each group consisted "Five dimensions of healthy sexuality" 6—8 participants.
Since this pilot study aimed to explore possible diverse dimensions of gender relations, we targeted participants who might be expected to hold differing viewpoints on salient dimensions. We also ensured that our sample included students from different provinces in the Mekong Delta. To recruit students, we first consulted with the Youth Union to help select female students who were in various positions in different school associations e.
Then, we asked these students to refer someone else who was different in one or more of the characteristics listed above. Prior to conducting focus group discussions, we obtained informed consent from each participant.
One subject refused to participate due to a time conflict. Discussions took place in empty classrooms in the university and lasted approximately 90 minutes. To ensure confidentiality, we requested participants use assigned, unique identification numbers instead of their names during the discussion. All group discussions were audio-taped and "Five dimensions of healthy sexuality" verbatim. The facilitator and note takers were female research assistants who had prior experience conducting qualitative studies.
We provided an additional training session to the research assistants at each university, and we met with them after each group discussion for feedback and problem solving.
The guide was then pilot tested with a group of seven students. The guide as well as quotations in the results section below were translated then back translated between English and Vietnamese to ensure accuracy. When one participant mentioned a dimension which resulted in agreement or disagreement from other group members, we recorded the number of participants who dis agreed. The TGP explains gender relations within three critical structures: The division of labor includes social rules that allocate particular types of work to one gender, such as unpaid housework and childcare to women.
It also involves gender differentiation in training, employment, exchange, and promotion. The structure of power comprises authority, hierarchies, coercion and control over resources at different levels: This structure also recognizes such cultural power as patriarchal order and cultural classification of women as weak. The third structure depicts social sexual relationships between people. This structure manifests in the form of social sexualization, prohibitions and incitements, beliefs, standards, and expectations.
Conforming to these structures subsequently makes a woman sexually desirable, appealing and socially accepted. These structures are not independent of each other but rather integrate and interweave to explain the social dynamic of gender. Connell proposes these three structures at two different levels: We selected the TGP as a framework for our analysis because it characterizes gender relations with fundamental yet comprehensive and straightforward theoretical structures i.
This was because we were specifically looking for simple individually perceived dimensions of gender relations instead of a complex macro gender hierarchy, and because we were seeking an established directly applicable, operationalizable, and potentially measurable framework to facilitate our future understanding of gender relations on health outcomes. Using a deductive approach, two researchers independently performed coding the data based on dimensions Five dimensions of healthy sexuality in the TGP.
Then, we compared and contrasted codes for inter-rater reliability. Based on the theory, we also used axial and selective coding to revise the original codes i. For all quotations below, texts in square brackets indicate our additions to clarify meaning. Participants came from six different Mekong Delta provinces and were studying some 26 majors.
The ratios of those who had a position in class or school versus no position were about 1: Women can also get a [paying] job in society, but one constraint is that women
Five dimensions of healthy sexuality do all housework, by default, often after working hours.
Although we now benefit from technology, such as washing machines, women still have to take care of their children. Men may help a little bit, but they often take care of social affairs, they just help in part. Because of this, three participants clearly stated that they would be willing to accept the housewife role and not look for paid work, even though they were third-year degree students.
All participants in eight groups acknowledged that women today are more equal to men in joining the social labor force, having jobs, and contributing to household income.
In addition, opportunities to find a job were believed to be biased towards men. Six participants gave examples of local firms that recruited only men for certain positions, without clear or convincing reasons, including electrical engineering, milk production, computational software programming, aquicultural development, and fertilizer marketing. Seven participants believed that men were highly favorable for lead, management or supervisory positions and in such fields as land management, internet administration, or even at-home private tutoring — a popular part-time job for students.
The most frequent reason for this was the perceived difference in competence between men and women 12 participantsmen being more
Five dimensions of healthy sexuality of leading, communicating, and having a sense of propriety. Although four groups agreed that male and female students had equal opportunities to select study majors in school, the actual selection of certain majors was clearly associated with gender. Women tended to major in accounting and preschool pedagogics.
I think there is no equality in academic majors. I was admitted to economics and land administration. All of my family elders asked me which one I would study. They advised me to study economics.