The beauty of rural Vietnamese women at work as well as their devotion to sustainable development are being reflected at an exhibition in Hà Nội.

Visitors contemplate photos at the exhibition.

Women in a flooded area. The photo by Vũ Minh Đức received the prize for Audience’s Choice.

With the theme "Rural Women with Sustainable Development", the exhibition is showcasing 40 photographs chosen from over 1,000 submissions to a photo contest launched by UN Women with the support of the Australian and Canadian embassies.

The event aims to recognise and promote the contribution of rural Vietnamese women to the sustainable development of Việt Nam.

The photographs submitted highlight the contestants’ recognition of the significant contributions made by rural women to the prosperity of their communities across many areas, including technology, sustainable agriculture, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, entrepreneurship, leadership and decision making, and the promotion of substantive equality between women and men in rural Việt Nam.

“Even in the absence of words, photographs can portray reality in a manner that is honest, eye-opening, thought-provoking and reflective, while still being entertaining and easily understood, ” said Elisa Fernandez, UN Women Head of Office in Việt Nam.

“We believe that photography is a powerful tool to raise awareness and to trigger positive development in society. Looking at all of the entries, we see positive changes regarding the empowerment of rural Vietnamese women.”

According to a report from Việt Nam’s General Statistics Office in 2015, women constitute a significant percentage of the agricultural workforce in the country.

In some rural areas, up to 63.4 per cent of working women are in agriculture compared to 57.5 per cent of working men. Rural women make substantial contributions to national economic growth.

However, rural women and girls remain among those most likely to experience poverty and lack access to resources such as land, agricultural extension, finance, education and healthcare.

Furthermore, access to social protection services remains limited for rural women and girls, and they are the group most likely to be affected by climate change and natural disasters.

Women knit fishing nets in Bạc Liêu. The photo by Giang Sơn Đông won top prize at the contest.

“As a direct result of gender inequality, rural women and girls fare worse than their rural male counterparts on almost every measure of development,” said Fernandez.

Kellie Raab, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Việt Nam, said these photographs helped to connect us to the hardworking rural women who are the backbone of Việt Nam’s economy.

“They also highlight some of the critical challenges these women face,” she said.

October is Women’s History Month in Canada. Robert Bissett, Chargé d’Affaires of the Canadian Embassy, said Canada was committed to sustainable development and women’s empowerment.

“Through the exhibition, we want to raise awareness for and celebrate the women who have helped shape Viet Nam into the thriving, and prosperous country that it is today.”

The photo contest on Rural Women and Sustainable Development was launched in March on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018.

The photos will be displayed until November 10 at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hà Nội. — VNS


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