Twenty one photos shot by students of Vientiane High School are being exhibited to mark the 107th Anniversary of International Women’s Day around the topic of women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
The photo exhibition was held at the French Institute in Vientiane Capital on Mar 9. The project is supported by UNWOMEN and the International Labour Organization to promote the participation of students in an awareness raising campaign themed All women are working women, which is open to the public between 9 am – 6 pm through Mar 15.
The resulting images show the full bandwidth of female labour in Laos including mothers, nurses, street vendors and weavers.
The students understand the importance of International Women’s Day. They are aware that their lives are intertwined, said Principal of the Vientiane High School Viengsouvanh Phaxaysombath.
I would like to see this project continuing so that it can help gifted and promising students become professional photographers in the future, said Ms Viengsouvanh.
In the Lao PDR, female participation in work life is very high, with women representing half of the total labour force.
However, more than 64 per cent of economically active women and girls are indentified as ‘unpaid family workers’.
Mothers often carry a double burden, working long hours during the day as well as caring for their family and managing household chores at night. On average, women earn only two-thirds of what men do, and are underrepresented in decision making processes and leading positions.
We have made good progress in gender equality, but not yet enough. Women deserve to have equal share in pay and decision making, said UN Resident Coordinator Ferderika Meijer.
The high proportion of women in the workforce needs to be matched with equal access to rights in the workplace, fair pay and adequate working hours for women partaking in the informal sector, said Vice President of the Lao Women’s Union Bundith Prathoumvanh.
She underlined in her speech at the UN event that the Lao Women’s Union is striving to ensure that all women in Lao PDR are given rights equal to men.
The event also featured a performance by Lao artist Aluna, who presented four songs with the help of the students, conveying the message that women are independent and strong, and that violence against women cannot be tolerated.
Source: Lao News Agency