Vietnam’s digital economy contributed approximately 14.26% to the total GDP in 2022 and is projected to grow at a rate of 8.9% from 2022 to 2026, which has witnessed notable developments in its tech sector. Moreover, Vietnam has made significant progress in promoting gender equality, moving up four places to rank 83rd in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2022. But more work ahead…
Why Women in Tech?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in STEM occupations has grown 79 percent in the past three decades and is projected to grow an additional 11 percent from 2020 to 2030.
A recent study by the World Economic Forum found that 75% of jobs globally will require STEM skills by 2050. This is due to the rapid growth of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and big data.
Low- and middle-income countries have lost 1 trillion USD in GDP over the past decade due to women’s exclusion from the digital world. This loss is expected to increase to 1.5 trillion USD by 2025 if no action is taken. Another piece of research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that closing the gender gap can have a significant economic impact, potentially increasing a country’s GDP by an average of 35%.
These statistics underscore the importance of promoting gender equality, particularly in the digital economy, in order to unlock women’s untapped potential and contribute to Vietnam’s overall economic prosperity.
Latest data on Women in Vietnam Tech
The gender gap in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) industry workforce in Vietnam remains a pressing issue, as women currently represent only about 37% of the sector, which is higher than the global average of 25%, according to data from the International Labor Organization.
The low proportion of women in the STEM industry reflects a broader trend of gender disparity in education and career opportunities. In Vietnam, the percentage of women who successfully complete education in STEM fields stands at 36.5%. While progress has been made in recent years to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education, significant barriers still hinder their entry and advancement in these fields.
Nearly four-fifths of working-age women in Vietnam are engaged in low-skilled or unskilled work. As per the General Statistics Office (GSO), the training rate for male workers stands at 25%, whereas for female workers, it is 20%, indicating a disparity in training opportunities between genders. These statistics highlight the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the challenges faced by women in the labor market and the potential economic impact of job losses in key industries.
Vietnamese women frequently face challenges that lead them to leave their jobs at key stages of their careers. This issue has been explored in a previous BCG publication on diversity in Southeast Asia. The reasons behind this trend are multifaceted and stem from deeply ingrained issues.
13% of women cannot pursue a long-term tech career because of family responsibilities. 11% say that they find it difficult to seek advancement opportunities. Besides, 40% of organizations don’t have a retention program for women.
Push them away
To improve the situation of women in tech, companies and policymakers need to take a targeted approach that focuses on the critical junctures in a career. A study by BCG SEA Women identified three such moments, along with the key influences that have the biggest effect on women at each juncture:
1. Choosing to pursue higher education in technology
2. Selecting the first job
3. Deciding to remain in a technology career
This study also developed a menu of initiatives that can boost progress for women at each of the three moments.
Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality in Viet Nam, United Nations Vietnam, 2023
Boosting Women in Technology in Southeast Asia, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 2020
Country Gender Equality Profile Viet Nam, UN Women, 2021