Photo exhibition held to promote women empowerment in Laos

2017-03-09 15:39:47 GMT2017-03-09 23:39:47(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

VIENTIANE, March 9 (Xinhua) -- As many as 21 photos shot by Lao students are being exhibited to mark the International Women's Day.

The exhibition opened Thursday in Lao capital Vientiane with the participation of students in an awareness raising campaign themed "All Women Are Working Women". The project is supported by UNWOMEN and the International Labor Organization.

The resulting images show the full bandwidth of female labor 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," Principal of Vientiane High School Viengsouvanh Phaxaysombath was quoted by Lao state-run news agency KPL as saying on Thursday.

In Laos, female participation in work life is very high, with women representing half of the total labor force. However, more than 64 percent of economically active women and girls are identified as "unpaid family workers", according to KPL.

Mothers often carry a double burden, working long hours during the day and 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, said the report.

"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.

The exhibition is scheduled to last till March 15.