Welcome to the 13th installment in the ongoing Local Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight series. In these blog posts, we’ll explore how various countries around the world address diversity and inclusion in their culture and workplace.
Our newest spotlight country? Vietnam, a country that celebrates its Independence Day on September 2.
Here are some things to know about diversity and inclusion in Vietnam.
Foreign businesswomen should always dress conservatively and foreign businessmen should never physically touch a female employee.
Foreign businesswomen should always dress conservatively and wear minimal make-up, regardless of whether they are at a business or social function. Women also not not typically drink at social business functions and those who do are often looked upon negatively.
Alternatively, foreign business men should never physically touch a female employee or coworkers even if it would be considered a casual touch in other cultures. They should not offer to shake hands with a Vietnamese woman unless she offers her hand first. A slight bow of acknowledgement will suffice.
Women are not expected to join in on informal socializing such as karaoke unless it is a family event.
After hours, women are not expected to join men in work-related socializing. When the genders do mix, Vietnamese men often feel uncomfortable socializing with foreign women and, as a result, people are typically seated by gender. Women dress modestly and typically refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages. While Vietnamese men may be less comfortable socializing with international women, Vietnamese women will be more curious and open to developing relationships. They often express their affection by holding hands or linking arms in public places.
Consensual same-sex acts are legal in Vietnam, but same-sex marriages are not recognized.
Homosexual acts are legal between consenting adults in Vietnam. Since 2013, same-sex couples have also held the right to live together and hold civil-union ceremonies without being fined.
The Vietnamese government, however, does not legally recognize same-sex unions as marriages. As a result, same-sex couples who live together do not have the benefits of marriage, including property rights.
Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children, but single people are.
Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children. However, single people are allowed to adopt children, regardless of sexual orientation.
Transgender people are permitted to legally change their gender, but some restrictions remain.
In 2015, the Vietnamese National Assembly passed legislation allowing transgender people to change their legal gender so long as they undergo gender-affirming surgery. The law was implemented in 2017, however, another bill needs to be passed in order to enforce it.
Vietnam has no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals.
Vietnam has no anti-discrimination laws protecting the rights of LGBT individuals. Many LGBT people face discrimination in school, the workplace, and are denied access to health care.
Homophobia is strong in Vietnam, especially in the northern regions of the country.
Although homophobia is still strong in Vietnam, there have been significant advancements in the LGBT community. Historically, many homosexuals were afraid to disclose their sexual orientations to families and friends. Yet many LGBT individuals now feel safer sharing their sexual orientation. Nevertheless, people still face discrimination and some Vietnamese may not fully understand what homosexuality is. Some believe it is a disease that can be “caught” or can be “cured.” Public violence against LGBT persons is rare, but may take the form of verbal harassment. Violence is more common within LGBT people’s own families.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have the largest LGBT communities in Vietnam. Gay tourists are generally safe in larger urban areas.
The northern regions of Vietnam tend to be more conservative and less accepting of the LGBT lifestyle. The LGBT community in these areas tends to be more “underground” than in other parts of the country. Homosexuality is generally tolerated in the southern regions of the country and in larger urban areas like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These cities have the largest LGBT communities in Vietnam.
Venues in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have increasingly become available for the LGBT community. LGBT tourists are generally safe in Vietnam. However, individuals are sometimes the target of scam artists. In such cases, they should contact the police if threatened with a scam or blackmail.
Interested in more diversity and inclusion information for countries around the world?