Thirty-year-old Nguyen Khanh Hang’s face lights up with joy when she peels the wrapping paper from her husband’s birthday gift to reveal a brand new laptop. Now she can surf the net whenever and wherever she wants.
Working as a business journalist at a daily newspaper requires her to have access to a constant stream of up-to-date information. The internet has been a useful tool for both work and play.
“Surfing the net to chat with my friends while I gather news has turned out to be an important part of my daily routine,” Hang says.
She is among an increasing number of urban Vietnamese women under-35 who gather most of their information from the internet, according to a recent survey by a market research group from Ha Noi’s Tinh Van Media Joint Stock Company (JSC).
The survey, which compiled information from nearly 500 Hanoian women over 18 years old, shows that women are most often searching for information about politics (51.3 per cent), economics (35.4 per cent), literature and arts (32.7 per cent), professional skills (29.2 per cent), family tips (26.5 per cent), market prices (22.1 per cent) and entertainment (13.3 per cent).
Electronic newspapers are the most highly visited websites, followed by blogs, forums, video and music websites and online shopping pages.
“Though their computer skills are not as fluent as men’s, the number of women using the internet is increasing,” IT expert Tran Quang Thanh from Ha Noi University of Technology’s Information Network and Library Centre, told Viet Nam News. “A recent survey in the UK shows that women from 18-34 are the most internet savvy. Vietnamese women are following the same trend.”
Of the women surveyed by Tinh Van Media JSC, 92 per cent said they used the internet as their main news source, 64.6 per cent watch television, 52 per cent get information from friends, 46 per cent from newspapers and magazines, and 15 per cent from other sources.
“Surfing the net is one of modern women’s favourite activities, especially those between 18-35, in addition to traditional hobbies like travelling and shopping,” says psychologist Nguyen Thi Tam, who is research specialist in women’s psychology.
Though the number of web entries on websites geared towards women, like www.webtretho.com and www.phununet.com, are often less than those at sites geared towards men, like www.ddth.com, visitors to women’s sites outnumber those to men’s.
“Obviously, a community of female internet-users is forming with special features and are considered a more loyal audience to the websites than men,” Thanh says.
Women’s websites get the greatest number of hits between 2 and 4pm from members, who are usually 23-35 years old. They often exchange information on health, nutrition, goods, children and education.
At online shopping pages like www.thegioibep.com, www.vinabook.com and www.xinhxinh.com.vn, 41.6 per cent of female visitors are over 36 years old. 22.6 per cent are 23-35 and 17.8 per cent are under 22 years old.
The internet has been affecting the whole world and our women are starting to be a part of that world, Thanh says.