Delegates cutting ribbon to open the exhibition

The photos will be displayed from October 10, and the month-long exhibition marks the continuation of the competition held by UN Women with the support of the Australian and Canadian Embassies to recognize and promote the contribution of rural Vietnamese women to the sustainable development of Vietnam.

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 Vietnam.

“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. 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,” said Elisa Fernandez, UN Women Head of Office in Vietnam.

Ms. Kellie Raab, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam briefing delegates on the exhibition

According to a report from Vietnam’s General Statistics Office in 2015, women constitute a significant percentage of the agricultural workforce in VietnNam. In some rural areas, up to 63.4% of working women are in agriculture compared to 57.5% of working men. Rural women make substantial contributions to Vietnam’s 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. As a direct result of gender inequality, rural women and girls fare worse than their rural male counterparts on almost every measure of development.

Addressing the crowd at the opening of the exhibition, Ms. Kellie Raab, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, said: “These photographs help to connect us to the hardworking rural women who are the backbone of Vietnam’s economy. They also highlight some of the critical challenges these women face.”

Photo "Net mending" by Mr. Giang Dong Son wins first prize

Mr. Robert Bissett, Chargé d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy said: “Canada is committed to sustainable development and women’s empowerment, especially as we celebrate October as Women’s History Month in Canada. We are thrilled to be here today to raise awareness for and celebrate the women who have helped shape Vietnam 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 contest was open to Vietnamese nationals of all ages residing in Vietnam, and contestants were invited to submit photos that illustrate the contribution of rural women to the sustainable growth and prosperity of Vietam, as well as photos that reflect the changes contestants would like to see regarding rural women and sustainable development. The response to the photo contest was overwhelming with over 1000 photos submitted by 151 photographers across Vietnam.

The winners of the photo contest:

• First place: Mr. Giang Dong Son

• Second place: Mr. Quang Ba Hai

• Third place: Ms. Le Thi Kim Lien

• People’s choice award: Mr. Vu Minh Duc 

Reported by Binh Chau-Hoang Bac