Recently, on April 19th, the conference of “ Women’s Leadership - How to overcome difficulties and achieved success” was organised by the US Embassy - Vietnam Executive MBA of University of Hawaii (VEMBA Hawaii).
At this conference, it was mentioned that complete inclusion still seems to be a hard to reach target, especially due to the shortage of women in leadership role.
According to Nguyen Phuong Mai, VEMBA alumna, Managing Director of Navigos Search, women play a very important role in the business. Having gender diversity in the leadership teams will help working with the customers more effectively.
As stated in the conference, it seems that family perception, social prejudices and self-prejudice are the biggest barriers to women leadership.
Oriental women are often associated with the stereotype of being a housewife, doing chores and raising the children. Women are hardly pictured as the bread winner of the family, for that reason alone, women are already lack of advantages.
They are less competitive to men not because of their capabilities but due to the fact that oriental women, especially Vietnamese women have so much more responsibilities compared to men.
From job-related tasks to taking care of their own family which might include their parents, parents in law, their husband and children. Thus, balancing work and family has always been number one issue to women whose want to promote their career.
Nevertheless, the biggest barrier to women leadership is still women themselves. Although constantly asking for gender equality, women suffers because of their own prejudice. For instance, cooking and doing chores are women jobs, women has to get married at a certain age, or leadership are for men only.
“Leading yourself before leading someone else,” said Ha Thu Thanh, Chairwoman of Deloitte Vietnam, VEMBA alumna.
The thought of the distinction between men and women has been rooted deeply inside people’s minds for many centuries, even in so many ages. Although it is difficult, women have to take lead to overcome this issue.
Additionally, changing cultural norms and gender stereotypes is a shared burden that requires the participation of everyone. The policy makers cannot deal with this issue on their own, other alliances, such as men and family of women, are needed across the community to assemble the crucial support for a win win situation.
It will certainly take time but it is not impossible to accomplish, anyone with enough persistence and dedication can set an example for others to follow the positive change.