Stitching a better future

Is Vietnam's boom in garment manufacturing good for women?

Executive summary

In recent years Vietnam has seen explosive growth in manufacturing for export, notably in the garment and textile sector. In 2016 Vietnam was the world’s fifth biggest exporter of garments and textiles. Exports from the sector were worth US$23.8 billion, which was equal to just over 13.5 per cent of the country’s total exports and just under 12 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).2 This boom has created millions of jobs, particularly for Vietnamese women.

This research from ActionAid Vietnam and ActionAid UK in cooperation with Aid for social protection program foundation in Vietnam (AFV) aims to review whether the expansion of the garment and textile sector has created decent jobs for women, and whether it is producing the tax revenues needed to support public services that working women need. It is based on a field survey undertaken between 21 November and 3 December 2016 in Hanoi, Haiphong and Uong Bi involving interviews with government, civil society representatives and garment workers, as well as analysis of secondary data.

The report finds that while garment sector jobs provide welcome opportunities for regular wage employment, often they fall short of international standards of decent work.