seafront-vanuatu-international-womens-daySome of Vanuatu’s most well-known faces as well as some of our unsung heroes will be celebrated in the STRONG: Woman blong Vanuatu photography exhibition launched in Port Vila today to mark International Women’s Day.

Opened in conjunction with the Australian Government’s 2018 International Women’s Day Awards event at The Rossi today, the STRONG: Woman blong Vanuatu exhibition will be on display along the seafront walk in the heart of Port Vila for a week from Thursday 8 March until Thursday 15 of March.

This year, International Women’s Day celebrations around the world are focusing on the achievements of those working relentlessly all around the world, in rural areas as well as urban centres, to help all women realise their rights and potential – and the need to build on the momentum.

To make the Sustainable Development Goals’ promise to “leave no one behind” a reality, we need global urgent action, especially in rural areas. In Vanuatu, employment, education levels and enrolment are all lower for women than for men, and are also lower in rural areas compared to urban areas. Violence against women remains a serious issue nationwide.

But progress has been made in recent years, led by policies adopted to progress gender equality. Women from all over Vanuatu are working hard to improve the lives of their families, their communities, and other women. Thirteen of them are recognised for their achievements in the STRONG: Woman blong Vanuatu exhibition, including beach volleyball gold medallist Linline Matauatu, Maritime Seawoman Bianca Simeon, and Blacksands Community Water Committee Chair Jenny Kalpukai.

“We are proud to help shine a light on the achievements of these truly magnificent women of Vanuatu,” says CARE International’s Country Director Megan Chisholm. “It is a diverse group of women and really proves that the contributions of each one, from the national leaders in Port Vila to the farmers in the furthest corners of outer islands, are helping to make this nation great.”

The STRONG: Woman blong Vanuatu exhibition has been brought together by CARE International with support from the Department of Women’s Affairs, the Australian Government, UN Women and World Vision.

“Women from all different walks of life are working hard everyday to make Vanuatu what it is today,” says Department of Women’s Affairs Director, Dorosday Kenneth. “This International Women’s Day, we want to acknowledge the contributions of all woman blong Vanuatu.”