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ERIC Number: ED551775
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 267
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-3296-2
Vietnamese Women in Academic Leadership: Experiences of Mid-Level Women Leaders in Universities and Colleges in the Mekong Delta
Dang, Ngoc Lan Thi
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Academic women in the Mekong Delta (MD) in southern Viet Nam remain underrepresented in key leadership positions and other positions of power and influence in their institutions. This situation exists regardless of various local, national, and international policies on gender equality and the implementation of numerous action plans, strategies, and activities to enforce this equality on Vietnamese campuses. No existing literature in Viet Nam examines the experiences of women in higher education in the MD and their underrepresentation in positions of power and leadership. Accordingly, this study sought to understand the lived experiences of a limited number of women leaders in higher education in the MD and the processes they have undertaken to advance into key positions of influence in their institutions. The study was framed within the larger context of gender equality in Viet Nam, but it focused on the nature of the leadership development process of women in academia in the MD. In particular, it explored the lived experiences of mid-level women leaders in two multidisciplinary public universities and two community colleges in the MD, to see how gender inequality issues have manifested themselves in this context. The women leaders' experiences, coupled with gender issues, were approached through the lens of feminist theories, together with insights drawn from the history of Confucianism and feudal ideology in Viet Nam. Phenomenography was the primary research approach employed in this study. Data were collected from in-depth face-to-face interviews, participant observations, and documents in the four selected higher education institutions. The study's findings show a gap between gender equality policies and gender practices. Women and men in Viet Nam in general and in higher education in particular are equal in all spheres of life in law, but not in reality. The findings specifically reveal that although women encounter significant opportunities for their professional development and career advancement, thanks to the gender equality law and policies, there are still various barriers hindering their advancement and equality with men in real life. More important, traditional Vietnamese culture, which is still heavily influenced by Confucian and feudal ideologies, continues to affect adversely not only men's but also women's perceptions of women's roles, status, and forms of participation in different spheres of life. The negative impact of these collective beliefs on the academic women leaders in this study is pervasive and intense, regardless of their age. Even though they had subtle desires to become leaders, none of them developed strategies to move up their career ladder or to hold senior leadership roles. Rather, they all became leaders "unintentionally.". This study offers several suggestions for improving gender policies and practices, theories, and future research on women and leadership in academia. First, there must be changes in gender policies and practices at the national, institutional, and individual levels before academic women's leadership status in Viet Nam can be ameliorated. Moreover, the current study clearly describes and interprets how women who lack parental encouragement and career ambitions attain leadership roles, while not much Western and Asian literature on women's leadership delves into these issues. Similarly, it contributes to feminist theories (e.g., MacKinnon, 1989) by describing what sex differences and inequalities truly exist in Vietnamese higher education and society, and how they should be addressed. Finally, to better inform and benefit not only women but also men and policy makers, future researchers should conduct longitudinal qualitative and/or quantitative studies with large sample sizes to examine the lived experiences of both women and men in higher education in Viet Nam and other Asian countries. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vietnam