Children's drawings on gender equality win awards

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In a sunlit garden of flower and fruit-laden trees, children play a game of blind man's buff, or should we call it blind women's buff?

For nine-year-old Nguyen Phan Nguyet Minh, a fourth-grader from Hanoi, her painting Bit mat bat de (Blind man's buff) signified something very simple the freedom for both boys and girls to study what they want and play anything they like.

Minh's painting won a prize, along with 30 other paintings selected from more than 4,000 entries to a nationwide contest, in Hanoi on May 19. The national painting competition for children, held for the third time in the country, called for paintings based on the theme "Gender Equality."

Organized by the European Union Delegation and Tien Phong newspaper, the contest is part of the month-long Europe Days 2011 celebrations in the country.

Minh's drawing, together with other nine others, will be displayed at the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, where a jury composed of European children will shortlist two drawings from each participating region.

Two winners from each of the seven regions, including Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Latin-America, Mediterranean Sea and Middle East, European countries who are non-members of EU and neighboring countries, and Pacific Ocean, participating in the competition will be awarded a grand prize worth 1,000 euros each.

Organizers said the contest seeks to draw attention to gender discrimination and exploitation, particularly against women, that is rife worldwide. "Protecting women's rights and empowering them as decision-makers remain fundamental principles of the European Union's working agenda across the globe," an EU statement said.

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