Women in Vietnam tend to take care of most of the domestic chores, and their role in business is quite minimal. Women tend to avoid alcohol, as women who drink are frowned upon in Vietnamese society, and it is very uncommon to see women smoking in public. Modesty is lauded, and Vietnamese women should not be assertive in relationships.
Although legally men and women are equal in Vietnam, men are still generally viewed as better in society. Females' lower literacy rates, less education and less involvement in public life demonstrate their status. In urban areas, women often work as secretaries or waitresses, but generally stick to lower-end service positions.
Women do not usually shake hands with men nor with each other. Physical contact with the opposite sex in public is very uncommon. It is also respectful to avoid eye contact with members of the opposite sex. Women sometimes cover their mouth with their hand when they are speaking or laughing to indicate modesty.
In relationships, Vietnamese females tend to be withdrawn and nonassertive, expecting the man to make the first move. Initiating a date as a woman is a sign of being "easy." Taking a woman to the movies on the first date is a sign of an "immoral woman." Women are expected to play "hard to get" and not show interest in a man too quickly. Sometimes it can take years before the couple refers to themselves as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend."