Home Institution

Gettysburg College

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


Burning fuel-wood, a method of traditional cooking practiced by half of all homes in Vietnam (Global Alliance for Clean Cook-stoves 2012) and the majority of homes in Hòa An Village and Xeo Trâm Hamlet, has significant negative consequences in terms of environmental and personal health. In Hòa An Village and Xeo Trâm Hamlet, as is true in much of Vietnam, gender roles dictate that women should be primarily responsible for household chores like cooking (World Bank 2001, Nguyen 2012, Nguyen 2012, Vo 2012). This means that women must often deal directly with the environmental dangers and safety hazards of woodstoves. As environmentally sustainable and safe cooking methods are implemented in Hòa An, Xeo Trâm and elsewhere, it is vital that women’s first-hand knowledge, ideas and opinions are considered in the process. This study will use the lens of gender to examine a common method for sustainable fuel use promoted throughout Hòa An and Xeo Trâm: the VACB model. VACB is an integrated farming system that includes a garden (vườn), fish pond (ao), pigs or poultry (chuồng), and biogas. Through a series of interviews and surveys and a case study using gender analysis in Xeo Trâm Hamlet, this study seeks to answer the following specific questions: 1.) How do men and women participate in traditional woodstove cooking? How does the VACB system affect these traditional gender roles? 2.) Does the VACB model meet the needs of both men and women? How do men and women in Hòa An Village and Xeo Trâm Hamlet perceive this model? 3.) Is the VACB model implemented in a way that considers the opinions of men and women? Gender analysis reveals that complex variables, including not only gender but education level, age, health, geographic location, and land holdings, influence perception of the VACB model and needs in terms of sustainable cooking. It also shows that people from the Xeo Trâm Hamlet, and women in particular, are marginalized from the implementation of the VACB model and systems for sustainable fuel use. Ultimately, this study demonstrates the importance of the insights provided by marginalized men and women in Xeo Trâm and concludes that dedication to gender and social equity is necessary for the success of systems for sustainable fuel use and cooking.


Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Health and Protection | Family, Life Course, and Society | Politics and Social Change | Sustainability | Women's Studies


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