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Photos honour rural women’s contributions to sustainable development

The top 40 entries of a photography contest on rural women and sustainable development in Vietnam are being displayed at an exhibition which opened at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hanoi on October 10.

The contest, launched on this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8), was organised by UN Women Vietnam with support from the Australian and Canadian embassies to the country.

The collections show photographers’ views on female contributions to rural development in multiple areas, such as technology, agriculture, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, business, leadership, decision making, and gender equality.

Addressing the exhibition’s opening ceremony, Elisa Fernandez, head of the UN Women Vietnam office, said that even without words, photos can provide an honest reflection of society and convey messages with simplicity and ease. She believes that photography is a strong tool to improving awareness of and promoting positive development in society.

She added that when looking at the photos, she is reminded of the positive changes in the empowerment of rural women in Vietnam.

Women constitute a critical workforce in agricultural production. According to the 2015 report of the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, in rural areas, 63.4 percent of working women are in agriculture, compared to 57.5 percent of working men. Rural women are significantly contributing to the country's economic growth.

However, women and girls living in rural areas are among those statistically speaking most likely to be poor; to lack access to productive resources such as land, modern inputs, technology and financial services, education, health care and other social protection services; and to be hit hardest by climate change. On almost every measure of development, rural women, due to gender inequality and discrimination, fare worse than rural men.

The exhibition will run through until November 10.