This paper discusses the school, work and marriage trajectories of young people in Vietnam, using analysis of Young Lives longitudinal qualitative data gathered from 16 children and their parents between 2007 and 2014 as well as descriptive survey statistics. One of the main findings is that gender is not always a key driver of children’s divergent schooling, working and marriage trajectories. Instead, intersectionality of socio-economic status, locality and ethnicity play a more important role, with locality and ethnicity associated with the widest gaps in school, work and marriage trajectories. Gender gaps in Vietnam do not appear to open up until mid- to late adolescence, close to upper secondary school age, with girls more likely to continue their education at a higher level. However, girls’ slight advantage in education does not necessarily translate into an advantage in the labour market, since boys have access to more prestigious and better-paid jobs. The findings indicate that gender gaps evolve over the life course and are shaped by socio-economic status, ethnicity and locality, as well as by social norms, which have a particularly strong bearing on gender relations as girls and boys come of age and as they start families. This points towards the centrality of longitudinal research and the life-course approach for understanding the gendered nature of young people’s pathways (and by implication, the importance of tracking children through into adulthood).
Gender Trajectories, Vietnam