What is it about?

We demonstrate the values of existential philosophy and psychology for capturing and understanding the experiences of women from the Global South. In particular, we offer an empirical example of a Vietnamese woman’s life-story (who was chosen because she is a leader), using an existential framework to interpret her self-identity as it unfolds over her life span.

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Why is it important?

Despite its grounding in the Global North discourse, existential philosophy and psychology has potential to understand diverse and complex modes of being, how women in the Global South take part in shaping their reality through their situatedness in the world. The value of existentialism lies in its view of self-identity as a process of becoming, as opposed to a fixed and stable entity, providing the means for theorizing the possibilities for female agency, which addresses one of the limitations of the existing research on women’s leadership in Vietnam.


We illustrate how the experience of Vietnamese women can be conceptualized as a process of becoming highlighting how they are Othered and yet simultaneously carve out meaning in their lives exercising a degree of agency.

Lan Nguyen
Fulbright University Vietnam

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This page is a summary of: Understanding the experiences of Vietnamese women leaders: Advancing an existential philosophical and psychological perspective., The Humanistic Psychologist, September 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/hum0000290.
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