The historical dominance of China means that one of the many issues Vietnam has had to deal
with is the Confucian view about a woman’s role in society. When our northern neighbor invaded, Vietnam adopted the Confucian Three Obediences: “tại gia tòng phụ, xuất giá tòng phu, phu tử tòng tử.” “A woman should obey her father as a daughter, her husband as a wife, and her sons in widowhood.”
You can imagine this being at odds with what many women are seeking to achieve: success in all aspects of life, including business. Vietnam has several female CEOs, and, overall, 73 percent of women are engaged in the workforce compared to 82 percent of men—according to the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO). It is a very high percentage compared with other countries. There are many women working in factories or who own small businesses running their own shops and stalls.
Women at the Helm
For the first time in Vietnam’s history, every woman is gaining the opportunity to pursue her dreams, whether as a career woman, a stay-at-home mother, or someone who tries to juggle both. Companies that want to be successful need to understand that integration of women in business is not only important, but necessary.
Women are finding themselves not only thriving in the corporate world, but having success from the ground up, establishing their own startups. A recent article from Entrepreneur stated, “… a lot of women are thriving within the startup world, and so are the companies they run. Multiple studies have shown that businesses with more female leaders are more successful and profitable than those with more men on their boards …”
My sister and I both know we are very privileged to be the stewards for the second generation of the Trần family at THP. We are emblematic of a shift that is taking place at family-owned businesses across Asia and the world. These days it is often not just a generational transition, but a gendered one as well. It’s exciting to watch and be a part of.