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The gender relations of software work in Vietnam

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Studies of women and Information Technology (IT) in developing countries have primarily focused on the impacts of IT on women's employment opportunities and on their economic power. By contrast, here we examine the nature and quality of the jobs themselves in the context of the Vietnamese software industry. This article presents data from the first systematic survey of Vietnam's software workforce. Although the industry is relatively young, gender segregation in software work has already been firmly established. Women are concentrated in jobs that are considered to be less skilled than those of men, such as testing as opposed to programming and systems design. This, in turn, has led to a gender gap in pay and training, as well as posed career barriers for women. The case study illustrates how the long-standing interconnection of gender, skill, and technology still functions to men's advantage, as a result of which women remain marginalized in the course of technological design.

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